Universal Pictures and Focus Features announced Saturday that Charlie Hunnam who was to play Christian Grey will depart Fifty Shades of Grey movie.
The ‘Sons of Anarchy‘ actor was set to play bondage-loving billionaire in September alongside Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in the upcoming film adaptation of E L James’ #1 bestselling book.
The studio called it a mutual decision claiming scheduling problems as the reason for his departure.
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,
Universal and Focus said in a joint statement.
However, Hunnam was committed to ‘Sons of Anarchy‘ show on FX two months ago when he first got cast as Christian Grey and it’s unclear exactly how the television drama series could suddenly be messing up his schedule. Moreover, ‘Sons of Anarchy‘ production was to end October 2st while the production on Fifty Shades was set to begin November 1st in Vancouver.
When his casting was announced, public vented frustration over website saying that the Pacific Rim actor was ill-suited to play the seductive billionaire. Fans of the kinky sex missive even went so far as to launch a petition calling for the roles to be recast.
And then Hunnam admitted Entertainment Weekly this week,
There are so many fans of that book and I know that on the surface, I am probably not what everybody imagined.
The biggest problem with him is probably that the transition from Sons to Fifty Shades is not really smooth so it is not surprising that the hunky thesp will not portray the wealthy S&M fetishist.
Producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti who have taken to Twitter to defend their casting decision are in kind of a tough position now since the studio has set an August 1st, 2014, release for the film.
Sam Taylor-Johnson is directing from a screenplay by Kelly Marcel.
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (first published in 2011) follows the relationship of 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele. Subsequent novels in the series, ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ (2011) and ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ (2012) explore the couple’s deepening relationship.