While on set with Charlie Hunnam for EW‘s exclusive first look at King Arthur, the former Sons of Anarchy star — in between push-up sets, of course — introduced us to his take on the legendary character. “First of all, it’s the Guy Ritchie Arthur. We meet him as a street urchin,” Hunnam said. “There’s nothing noble about him in the beginning.”

For Hunnam, a big perk of taking on the role is the hardware, and while this Arthur isn’t like any we’ve ever seen before, he’s still wielding the sword we all know: Excalibur.

“It’s a beautiful sword. They did a lovely job designing it,” he said. “There are some ancient characters and a little bit of that folded steel effect that you see a lot on Japanese knives these days. I was so excited when I saw this crystal. It took me back to my childhood, putting marbles on the top of my swords or my staff that I built myself.”

There is a downside, however. As sweet as it must be to swing a sword around for a few months, the actor-weapon relationship eventually comes to a bitter end. “I’ve been spending a huge amount of time with this sword, and I’ve been told that under no circumstances am I allowed to steal it when the film is finished,” Hunnam said. “But we’ll see about that.”

To continue reading the cover story on King Arthur, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
  • Movie
  • 126 minutes