Although, unlike the rest of the world, the Orange Is the New Black star only heard about the casting for the first time when she spoke to E! News on Thursday, Sept. 5, at VEVO and Style Network's "Styled to Rock" event in New York City.
"Wait...what? That's so amazing! Really? Wow! That is total news to me," the 34-year-old actress said in disbelief. "I love Charlie. Working on Sons of Anarchy with him, I mean he has a full accent and just watching him act on set, he is amazing."
Manning proceeded to praise the Brit's work ethic, saying, "He studies so hard. One time, my mom and I went to breakfast in Hollywood and he was sitting at the diner all by himself and he was reading a novel for a movie he was about to do based on the novel. He was sitting alone just reading it and, I don't know, at that moment, I looked at him in a different light. I had already seen him on set so dedicated, and then seeing him sitting alone at breakfast just working on his craft, he is just a true actor."
Of course, Manning couldn't help but call the actor a "total babe," as well as noting, "He was so nice to my mom. He stood up to meet her. Just very chivalrous, old-fashioned and great manners. I have nothing but love for him."
Later, Manning was stunned to learn that there's actually been some backlash over the casting of Hunnam in the role.
"Why? Do you realize every single woman that is my friend is, like, 'Tell me everything about Charlie.' All the time. He is kind of like how girls feel about Eminem or Justin Timberlake. He is just a heartthrob, so I don't understand why anyone would question that casting decision. And if you watch the show, he is so noble and strong. That's weird to me. I don't understand the backlash. I don't agree. I think he is perfect for that part!"
(E! and Universal Pictures are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)