As fans eagerly await the “Fifty Shades of Grey” film adaption, news of a dramatic, behind-the-scenes bidding war has been revealed. According to “Entourage” producer Mark Wahlberg, the erotica franchise may have taken a different route and even possibly starred a Hollywood A-lister.
In a revealing interview with the Hollywood Reporter’s Producers Roundtable Thursday, the 42-year-old “Pain and Gain” star dished about his formerly nixed plans for the E.L. James book series and his desire to take on the highly anticipated project. “We were aware of the book very early on, and we were close to securing the rights, and then we get into this bidding war," said Walberg, who said losing his chance to create the film almost cost his assistant Ari Emanuel his job.
"I almost fired my agent Ari over [Fifty Shades] -- not because I wanted to play the part,” said Walhberg, who revealed he was eyeing another star to take on the coveted role of Seattle-based, BDSM-obsessed billionaire, Christian Grey. When prompted by the film’s current producer Michael DeLuca ("The Social Network") regarding his similar appearance to the character Christian Grey, Wahlberg responded saying, “No, sounds like Brad Pitt to me.”
Wahlberg’s confession comes after months of rumors of behind-the-scenes drama on the set of “Fifty Shades of Grey” film, including everything from casting backlash, to script rewrites and release date pushbacks. In October, the film’s former star, “Sons of Anarchy” actor Charlie Hunnam, unceremoniously quit the franchise due to his “immersive filming schedule” with the FX series. In November, it was announced that “Once Upon a Time” TV actor Jamie Dornan would serve as Hunnam’s replacement.
Entertainment Weekly announced earlier this month, alongside the first official image of Dornan as Grey and his co-star, actress Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele, that the film's release date was changed from August 2014 to February 13, 2015, due to the recent casting shakeup. According to reports, producers are hoping the film will become a Valentine’s Day “date movie” to compete against the release of Nicholas Sparks’ latest film, “The Longest Ride.”
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