As soon as the news broke that Dakota Johnson and Charlie Hunnam had won the lead roles in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie adaptation, there seemed to be a wave of outrage that some of the fan favorites weren’t cast as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.
One of the producers of the “Fifty Shades” movie, Dana Brunetti, took to Twitter to address some of the backlash. “There is a lot that goes into casting that isn’t just looks. Talent, availability, their desire to do it, chemistry with other actor, etc,” he wrote. But it appears that “looks” are exactly what fans are concerned about.
So how different are Johnson and Hunnam from their characters? We looked back at E L James’ own words to judge how close producers came when casting Anastasia and Christian.
Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele
Unruly hair that “won’t behave”
As a famous person, Johnson has better hair than your average college newspaper writer, Anastasia Steele included, but this is really just a matter of styling. You slap a sloppy ponytail on just about anyone, and they’re covered in this department.
“I roll my eyes in exasperation and gaze at the pale, brown-haired girl with eyes too big for her face staring back at me, and give up.”
A sticking point for some of the more hardcore fans, and one of the reasons that a petition in support of “Gilmore Girls” actress Alexis Bledel gained traction, was the size of her eyes and her darker hair. Johnson would have to dye her hair if faithfulness to a detail as trivial as hair color is important, but her normal-sized eyes won’t match Anastasia’s.
Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey
“So young — and attractive, very attractive. He’s tall, dressed in a fine gray suit, white shirt, and black tie with unruly dark copper-colored hair and intense, bright gray eyes that regard me shrewdly.”
Surprisingly, descriptions like this one, found in the first chapter, are the source of anguish for many fans, but with a little movie magic, Hunnam might not be that far off from Christian Grey on set. The actor’s bright blue eyes make a real-world stand-in for gray, and like Johnson, he is capable of dyeing his hair.
“When I glance up at Christian Grey, he’s watching us like a hawk, his eyes hooded and speculative, his mouth a hard, impassive line.”
Anyone who has seen “Sons of Anarchy” or caught this summer’s “Pacific Rim” knows that Hunnam is capable of a lot as an actor, but, man, can that guy put on a grimace! Not only that, but he can look really serious when he does it. If “Fifty Shades” fans are looking for someone who can give meaningful glares and then follow through on them, they’ve got their Christian.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” will open in theaters on August 1, 2014.