‘Sons of Anarchy’ star Charlie Hunnam has pulled out of the big screen adaptation of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’
Early on he told a reporter, “There are so many fans of that book and I know that on the surface, I am probably not what everybody imagined while reading the book. People bring a character to life in their imagination, they feel ownership. That is daunting.”
Universal Pictures and Focus Features issued this joint statement: “The filmmakers of Fifty Shades of Grey and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam’s immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey.”
Producers announced in early September that the lead role in the steamy literary saga had finally been cast. Landing the role of Anastasia Steele was Dakota Johnson — the daughter of celebrity parents Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith.
Hunnam drew a great deal of criticism on social media after the FX star was initially cast. Producer Dana Brunetti hit twitter to respond, “There is a lot that goes into casting that isn’t just looks. Talent, availability, their desire to do it, chemistry with other actors. So if your favorite wasn’t cast, then it is most likely due to something on the list. Keep that in mind while hating and keep perspective.”
Filming is slated to begin on November 5, 2013 in Vancouver, with a projected released date of August 1, 2014.
Others at the top of a short list of potential replacements: Matt Bomer and Ian Somerhalder.
Bomer, 35, currently portrays con-man Neal Caffrey on the USA network television series ‘White Collar.’ Season five is scheduled to return on October 17, 2013.
Somerhalder, 34, is best known for his role as Damon Salvatore on The CW’s supernatural drama ‘The Vampire Diaries, now in its fifth season.