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Why Dr. Alan From Crimson Peak Looks So Familiar

When Crimson Peak came out in 2015, movie audiences mostly overlooked the gothic romance-horror hybrid, despite the film receiving critical praise. But with its release on Netflix this month, many viewers are giving the Guillermo del Toro-helmed project a second chance, with all indications suggesting the film will jump from "Trending Now" to snag a spot on the streamer's coveted "Top 10 Movies in the U.S. Today."

Crimson Peak tells the story of Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), an American heiress and budding novelist who falls prey to a pair of scheming siblings played by Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain. Rounding out the already impressive cast is Charlie Hunnam, who plays Cushing's childhood friend Dr. Alan McMichael. For some, Hunnam might not have the most recognizable name, but the English actor boasts a resume that ensures you've likely seen him before. Let's take a look at the roles Hunnam is most known for.

He played Nathan on Queer as Folk

Charlie Hunnam's first big break came when he was 18 years old. The young actor was cast as one of three leads in the original British version of Russell T. Davies' Queer as Folk. As the underage Nathan, Hunnam's character begins to explore the gay nightlife in Manchester, England, while pursuing the much-older Stuart (Aidan Gillen). Nathan starts the series as a naïve and insecure youth coming to terms with his sexuality. Over the course of ten episodes, viewers watch as Nathan becomes more sure of himself and comfortable in his own skin.

Airing in 1999, Queer as Folk's groundbreaking depiction of gay men was bound to ruffle feathers. But amidst the controversy and headlines, Hunnam's skillful portrayal of Nathan caught the eyes of many. Two years after Queer as Folk wrapped, Hunnam snagged more headlines playing the lead in Nicholas Nickleby. As is common in many of Charles Dickens' works, Nickleby is a down-on-his-luck young man who must contend with a sinister uncle and other unsavory characters in mid-19th century England.

Sons of Anarchy

Following Nicholas Nickleby, Hunnam spent the next few years working smaller roles in films like Cold Mountain and Children of Men. Then, in 2008, the actor landed the lead role of Jax Teller in FX's motorcycle-themed crime drama series Sons of Anarchy. Chronicling the story of an outlaw motorcycle club in California across seven seasons, Sons of Anarchy follows Jax as he navigates the bonds and betrayals of his fellow members while trying to honor his late father's hope of ending the gang's involvement with running guns.

Hunnam's portrayal of a convicted felon and member of a criminal motorcycle gang — a far cry from his polished Nicholas Nickleby days — earned him a 2015 Best Actor nomination at both the Satellite Awards and the Critics' Choice Television Awards. Hunnam, along with costars Katey Sagal and Ron Perlman, received high praise from critics for their work on the series. As the series wound down, Hunnam would enter the next phase of his career: movie blockbusters.

Pacific Rim

Starting with 2013's Pacific Rim, Hunnam leveraged his notable previous work and subsequent accolades to land roles in a handful of big-budget films, albeit with mixed results. In his first outing with Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim, Hunnam plays the lead character Raleigh Becket, who is called out of retirement to pilot a giant robot to defend Earth from an invasion of interdimensional kaiju. Pacific Rim was a box office hit, earning more than twice its production budget, and led del Toro to cast Hunnam in his next project, the aforementioned Crimson Peak.

In 2017, Hunnam played the title character in Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The film was intended to launch a franchise, but poor critical response and a weak box office killed plans for future installments. Most recently, Hunnam starred alongside Ben Affleck in Netflix's action, film Triple Frontier, and Guy Ritchie's action-comedy, The Gentlemen with Matthew McConaughey, both released in 2019.