Charlie Hunnam -- the controversial choice to play Christian Grey in the film adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey” -- has officially dropped out of the project, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “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 cited by the publication.
Hunnam, 33, currently plays the role of Jackson “Jax” Teller on the FX hit series “Sons of Anarchy.”
As the Hollywood Reporter noted, Hunnam was set to star alongside Dakota Johnson in the movie version of E.L. James’ smash-hit book. It is scheduled to hit North American theaters next Aug. 1.
Hunnam faced widespread online backlash when he was officially cast as the male lead in “50 Shades of Grey,” beating out fan favorites such as Matt Bomer and Ian Somerhalder.
“There are so many fans of that book and I know that on the surface, I’m probably not what everybody imagined,” Hunnam told Entertainment Weekly just days ago. “Because reading is so personal, and people bring a character to life in their imagination, they feel ownership over that character,” Hunnam said. “That’s daunting if I allowed myself to think about it too much. I’m taking it very seriously and intend to explore the nature of who this character is, what motivates him -- and also dress up nice and look good in those suits.”
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Universal Pictures will once again start the search for its Christian Grey, which will undoubtedly lead to calls to cast either Bomer or Somerhalder in the lead role.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” was scheduled to begin shooting early next month, as noted by Deadline.