Charlie Hunnam initially rejected the chance to star in 'Papillon'.

The 37-year-old actor appears in the new biographical film based on the autobiography of the French convict Henri Charriere, but Charlie has admitted he was apprehensive about appearing in a remake of the 1973 movie of the same name, which starred screen icon Steve McQueen.

He explained: ''So, the first time I heard about this, I was really intrigued. It was an incoming call, they said, '[director] Michael Noer is in town...' They tried to tell me who he was and I said, 'Listen, I know who he is, I've been a big, big fan for a long time - you're preaching to the choir.'

''I shared what I'm sensing is a prejudice against the basic idea of remaking a classic, beloved film. And initially, I had that reaction myself. So I said, 'No, I don't want to engage in this.' As much as I adored Michael, I just decided it wasn't for me.''

But Charlie subsequently performed a U-turn on the movie, deciding it was a project he couldn't miss out on.

In particular, the British actor was desperate to work with the movie's director, who he'd admired for so long.

He told Collider: ''They offered it to another actor, who I really respect and admire - I think he makes wonderful choices. And then I had that moment of like, 'Oh man, I've really mucked up here.' That stayed with me for a bit and it really tortured me.

''Then I watched Michael's other films twice back-to-back and thought I really had made a mistake.''