Why Did Charlie Hunnam Quit ’50 Shades of Grey? Star Was Never Going To Play Christian, Source Says

on October 14 2013 5:18 PM
Charlie Hunnam
Charlie Hunnam will not play Christian Grey in the film version of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” after all. Reuters

Charlie Hunnam supposedly quit "Fifty Shades of Grey” because of scheduling conflicts, but Us Weekly reported Monday that the 33-year-old actor never really intended to star in the highly anticipated movie of E.L. James’ erotic thriller.

"Charlie Hunnam was never going to do 'Fifty Shades of Grey,'" a source close to production told the magazine. "He told his agents from the beginning he didn't want to do it and was going to pull out," the insider added about the “Sons of Anarchy” star.

In the FX television show, Hunnam plays Jax Teller, and many “Fifty Shades” fans were not happy when he was announced as Christian Grey on Sept. 2. Many could not see past his rough-around-the-edges appearance as Jax Teller. There was even a petition that gained nearly 85,000 signatures asking for Hunnam to be removed for the movie; looks like those fans got their wish.

It was earlier rumored that Hunnam left because he chickened out under the wave of fan rejection, but a different source told the news site anxiety over the film had nothing to do with it. "This is not due to cold feet," the insider said. "Charlie is very true to his craft, and something like the media circus is not going to deter him from taking a role. That said, the project wasn't appearing to shape up as expected. There is no bad blood."

The insider continued: "While this was a tough decision, it was the right decision and he's happy he made it."

Universal Pictures said the English actor left the film because of his “immerse TV schedule,” which left him unable to fully commit to the role opposite Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in the BDSM thriller. A different source confirmed to Us that Hunnam truly pulled out because of scheduling conflicts.

The insider said his exit is "truly due to scheduling. The role of Christian Grey requires a massive time commitment, a trilogy role in which Charlie and his team were originally very aware of from the start and a major consideration in his hesitancy for taking the role. Charlie is the lead in a massive TV series and his loyalty will always be to 'Sons of Anarchy,' the 'SOA' family and fans."

It was rumored Hunnam would be leaving the film, but in September he seemed sure about the role and called the film “a big commitment.” He said, “There's just like a tangible chemistry between us. It felt exciting and fun and weird and compelling.”

There is no word as to who will replace him. Though some people are disappointed Hunnam will not play the kinky billionaire with a penchant for S&M, it also means fans can continue to speculate, and dream. It puts former fan favorites like Matt Bomer and Ian Somerhalder back in the limelight, too.