Universal Left Without Male Lead For ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’


“Sons of Anarchy” star Chalie Hunnam has decided to drop out of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” project just over a month after his casting in the film was announced. 

“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 official statement from Universal says the actor bowed out due to shooting conflicts with the FX series “Sons of Anarchy,” but not a lot of people seem to be buying that story. According to The Hollywood Reporter, two sources came forward and said Hunnam, 33 was overwhelmed from the attention he was receiving after the casting decisions were announced and he got cold feet. 

Universal announced Hunnam and Dakota Johnson would be playing the lead roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steel back in September. Both the actors and producers received backlash from devoted fans of the steamy novels almost immediately after the casting decisions were revealed. A few superfans even took to Change.org and created a petition to have the actors removed from the project. The petition received more than 80,000 signatures. It go to the point where Universal was forced to hire bodyguards for the actor for the recent “Sons of Anarchy” premiere.

Initially Hunnam seemed ready to take on the role in spite of all the hate.

“As soon as we got in the room and started reading with Dakota, I knew that I definitely wanted to do it, because there was a tangible chemistry between us,” Hunnam previously told THR.

“It felt kind of exciting and fun and weird and compelling, and so that was it.”

It is unclear what may have happened between then and now to make Hunnam want to drop out, but Universal and Hunnam are sticking to the “scheduling” excuse for now. The studio is going to have to move fast to find a replacement as production was set to start at the end of the month. Hunnam’s departure may cause a delay in “Grey’s” production schedule given how long it took to settle on the actor in the first place.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is slated to open in August 2014. We’re keeping our fingers crossed the shake up will not push back the release.

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