As we discussed yesterday, Charlie Hunnam threw a “bitch bye” at the 50 Shades of Grey production. So far, the official word is that this was Charlie’s decision and that he cited “scheduling conflicts” as his reason. Production on 50 Shades was supposed to begin in the beginning of November, so Sam Taylor Johnson (the director) basically has less than three weeks to find a replacement. Charlie has thrown everything off, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this affected his career (in a negative way) in the years to come. While Charlie’s fans are pleased that he dropped out, and fans of 50 Shades are pleased that he won’t be playing THEIR Christian Grey, the fact of the matter is that this kind of move – so close to the production start date – reads as immature, flaky and unprofessional. So what REALLY happened? The Hollywood Reporter’s sources have some thoughts:
Charlie Hunnam is exiting Fifty Shades of Grey.
“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 Pictures said in a statement.
The Sons of Anarchy actor was set to star as Christian Grey alongside Dakota Johnson in the adaptation of E L James’ best-selling book. Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy) is directing the film.
Sons of Anarchy ‘s production was to end Oct. 21. The production on Fifty Shades was set to start in Vancouver the first of November.
Two sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Hunnam, 33, was overwhelmed with the attention he received from being cast in the movie and got cold feet about carrying such a high-profile project. Universal was forced to hire bodyguards for the actor at a recent Sons of Anarchy premiere, where questions about Fifty Shades dominated the red carpet.
The sources caution that Hunnam had no reservations about the role of Christian Grey, just the media and fan frenzy that came along with it, especially as he was transitioning from Sons to Fifty Shades so quickly.
Hunnam’s exit leaves Universal and producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti in a very tough position. The studio has set an Aug 1, 2014, release for the film, and any delays in the production schedule could imperil that date.
So, basically, Charlie would have been absolutely fine with playing master spanker Christian Grey, but he was starting to get freaked out with all of the online negativity and the fact that he was getting pap’d every day on the set of SoA.
Universal Pictures and Focus Features released a joint statement too, trying to make it sound like it was all about Charlie’s need to find the character: “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.” Um, what “preparation”? He’s read the book. He knows what goes into it. It’s not like he’s doing Chekhov. For real.
As for who will play Christian Grey now… I have no idea. I’ve seen some sites are doing polls on who should do it, and I guess Ian Somerhalder and Matt Bomer are high on the fan-girls’ lists. Ian would do it. EL James said he was never a contender, but he’s like the only actor who really, really wants it. Matt Bomer doesn’t want to touch it, so that’s just a pipe dream. Who else should be on the list? As I’ve always said, DO NOT name legit actors. Since everything is last-minute now, they really will be casting this straight out of the CW.
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.