I met this issue of Contents’ cover boy, Charlie Hunnam, one rainy morning last May on the set of the about-to-be-released Nicholas Nickleby, in which I star and Charlie has a cameo role as the eponymous hero.
It’s a funny thing meeting other actors on film sets. Usually, unless they are very young or new, you will have seen them in one or more of their previous movies. Perhaps you have a friend in common. Sometimes that friend may have slept with them. And so, as you shake the hand of this new co-worker and near stranger, all of you can think of is the vivid description of their genitals or some lewd act they enjoy partaking in which was described to you with great relish by the said friend. And all this whilst making bleary small talk about how the film is going/the director/the bloody weather/the standard of the on-set caterers, etc.
It can be quite a jolt to the system, especially at the unearthly hour most filming days begin. There is also the converse worry that this new person will have similar information about you, so during the small talk you quickly, but subtly, suss out who they know, who they have worked with, when, where, and thus build up a profile of the possible dirt this stranger might have.
I have found that the best way to deal with this is to get in there first, and as soon as you are comfortably ensconced in the makeup chair, begin the recite all the people you have ever slept with or are rumoured to have slept with and every sordid detail therein. This generally breaks the ice and also enables you to jump several stages in the getting-to-know everyone process.
However, with Charlie, things were a little different. I didn’t know anyone who knew him. I didn’t know anyone who had slept with him. Yet.
But the visual that ran through my mind in that dim and dingy Dickensian car park (if a car park can be Dickensian—I know there may be purists reading) was that I had seen Charlie being rimmed. Yes, rimmed. As in having his bum licked by another. And another man at that. And what’s more Charlie seemed to be having a jolly nice time during this, his inaugural rimming.
Before your minds begin to race to scenarios involving depraved Hollywood parties with two-way mirrors and the like, I should just point out that nothing could be further from the truth. Charlie was being rimmed on my television set in an episode of the original, British version of Queer As Folk.
Now, I know that in America there is a school of thought that we Europeans are a dirty bunch of subversives with little knowledge of the joys of orthodontia or depilatory products, but excessive interest in depraved practices that usually involve the anus, but let me tell you little Charlie’s ass adventure was a first for me. On TV that is.
I don’t suppose though that Charlie really did get much contact from the other actor’s tongue. The tongue in question belongs to Aiden Gillen. I do know Aiden a little, having been in a film called Circle of Friends with him, and having run in to him occasionally over the years, but I have never got a rimming-other-boys-especially-when-on-camera sort of vibe off him.
Once in a film, Jessica Lange and I had to be completely naked together, but normal film sex scene etiquette was followed and a little piece of gauze was placed delicately between us so that both sets of our genitals would remain unsullied by the other’s.
So, I am almost certain that there was something that prevented Aiden and Charlie from touching. A piece of clingwrap? Or maybe they used the old gauze trick. Who can tell? I shall have to wait for the premiere of Nicholas Nickelby to quiz Charlie further. Watch this space.
Anyway, the important point is that Charlie’s character was utterly delighted by Aiden’s character introducing him to this new pleasure. And so he should have been.
Charlie’s bum action also caused quite a stir amongst the British media. The word ‘rimming’ was bandied about with abandon, and conservative middle-aged matrons who would have previously baulked at the mention of any sexual activity in that vicinity of their bodies were now merrily ringing up daytime talk show phone-ins to hear conservative middle-aged matronly TV talk show hosts tell them that as long as the said part of the body was clean and healthy they should have no fear and to plunge ahead with it. Overnight riming entered common parlance and became a national pastime. Hoorah!
There is no rimming in Nicholas Nickelby. There is no nearly me. I lied, you see. Charlie is the star and I have the cameo. And that is why his picture is on the cover of this magazine and I am at the back end rambling on about back ends.