Tall, dark, handsome, domineering and rich: These are the main attributes associated with E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades” hero Christian Grey. While many fans of the series imagined the Seattle billionaire with a penchant for BDSM was based on a tall, dark and handsome Hollywood celebrity like Matt Bomer or Ian Somerhalder, Italian real estate agent Alessandro Proto claims the British author used his likeness to create Anastasia Steele’s lover.
Proto, 39, told the New York Daily News James had the idea to pen her ultra-successful steamy S&M trilogy after they met in Italy in 2010. At the time, the author was writing about international celebrities who were buying Italian property. Proto claimed to have worked with A-listers like Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Madonna as they traveled from Milan to Lake Como.
According to the businessman, there are multiple aspects of the book that correlate to his life and his time with James. One example he gave was how Grey's and Proto’s offices are similar. Proto says the top floor location of his office was used in the book. "My office is located at the eighth floor. It is the highest in the building. I came from nothing, so I see top floors as a metaphor for achievement and success," he said
"The firm Grey runs in the book is called Grey Enterprise Holding. Mine is called Proto Organization Holding," the Milan-born real estate agent told the Daily News. "When I met E.L. James I used to drive a R8 Audi," he added, saying it was also mirrored in the fiction.
Proto hasn’t given many interviews, only four in the past four years, and he said that’s a trait he shares with Grey. But that’s not all; there’s mystique around Proto’s success as well as Grey’s. "Everyone knows he made it, but nobody knows how he reached success. Same with me," he added.
But Grey and Proto are not exact replicas, Proto hastens to point out. When it comes to the kinky stuff, the agent said he like to stick to traditional methods of sex. "Everything that has to do with S&M is pure imagination, I assure you. I'm an old-fashioned man when it comes to sex, I'm not into that kind of fantasies," he added.
Proto is rumored to have a cameo appearance in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie, which is due out in theaters Feb. 15, 2015. But it doesn’t mean he’s looking to make the transition from business to film anytime soon. “I don't like gossip and showbiz. I'm a businessman. That's what I do for a living and it is my main purpose in life."
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