With no word from Universal Studios or “Fifty Shades of Grey” author E.L. James, fans of the erotica series are buzzing over who will win the coveted role of Christian Grey following actor Charlie Hunnam’s withdrawal Saturday. With names ranging from “True Blood” star Alexander Skarsgard to little-known former “Once Upon A Time” actor Jamie Dornan all rumored to be gunning for the role, here are six actors reportedly on filmmaker's short list to play the sexually sadistic Seattle billionaire, Christian Grey:
An actor not known for being shy when it comes to stripping down in front of a camera, "True Blood" star Alexander Skarsgard is reportedly one of the frontrunners to star as Christian Grey in the “Fifty Shades” film adaption. Skarsgard previously discussed portraying the sadistic billionaire in a 2012 interview with the Daily Chilli, saying his longtime character on the HBO’s fantasy series, vampire Eric Norton, prepared him well for the role. “That wouldn't be an issue. I have a sex chamber in my basement, my character on ''True Blood' [does], so I've had training,” he said, calling his fans' desire to see him in the role "flattering."
A former fan favorite to star as Christian Grey, “The Vampire Diaries” star Ian Somerhalder is reportedly back in contention for the role. According to a report from CelebDirtyLaundry Tuesday, the 34-year-old actor is “obsessed” with winning over filmmakers following Hunnam’s departure. Allegedly, author James isn’t interested in casting him, but Somerhalder is still reportedly seeking an audition with the films’ female lead, Dakota Johnson. “Ian Somerhalder is back in campaigning mode, and he’s desperately trying to get himself a screen test with Dakota Johnson,” said the report, adding, “Ian and Dakota have to work well together visually for the director and producers or there is no hope ‘The Vampire Diaries’ star.”
Somerhalder most recently discussed losing the “Fifty Shades of Grey” role to Hunnam in an interview with HuffPost Live in September, saying his TV career made him an unlikely candidate for the film. "It's so funny, you read these blogs, 'Ian Somerhalder angry, livid he's not Christian Grey.' I mean, no, no, no, there's none of that," he said, adding, "I'm on a TV show that shoots 10 months a year."
“White Collar” star Matt Bomer is still a favorite among fans and bookies alike to star as Christian Grey. While the 36-year-old actor previously confirmed he was never formally approached for the film, the Web is still buzzing that he may have a shot. According to a report from UK’s Mirror, Bomer is currently leading with 7:1 odds that he will take on the “Fifty Shades” role in place of Hunnam, who quit due to his “immersive” schedule with the FX program “Sons of Anarchy.”
Following James’ announcement last month that Hunnam had secured the role of Christian Grey, Bomer responded to fans’ protests and subsequent petition to filmmakers to cast him. "I’m so grateful for the fans and touched,” said Bomer, who also gave his support to the film stars. “I’m looking forward to seeing the movie with Charlie and Dakota,” he later added.
The Hollywood Reporter was the first to publish claims that former “Once Upon A Time” star Jamie Dornan is on the short list of actors being considered. While the 31-year-old British actor has yet to comment on the reports, he did confirm on his official Twitter account that he is available after he completed filming his latest project, “Flying Home," late last month. “That’s a wrap! #newworlds #ineedsleep,” wrote Dornan.
Up-and-coming “Divergent” star Theo James is reportedly also the shortlist. Fans of the 28-year-old Briton actor are currently split over rumors that he is a contender. “He would make the best Christian Grey,” said Tennessee fan Aimee Danielle Samples DeFouw on the unofficial Theo James fan page Monday. “This movie is career suicide,” wrote Manda Wintz of Kentucky. “He’s too good for this movie,” agreed another fan of the actor, Hope Frey-White. According to a poll conducted by the social media fan site, 39 percent of fans want to see him play Christian Grey with 48 percent against the decision. (Thirteen percent of fans voted as “not sure”).
According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter Monday, Christian Cooke is also a name on Universal Studios short list of potential stars. The little-known, 26-year-old British actor is currently working on the short film “Electricity.” He only recently starred in his breakout role as Mercutio in the 2013 retelling of the Shakespearean tale “Romeo and Juliet” alongside best supporting actress Oscar-nominee Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth.