After a long search, “Fifty Shades of Grey” needs a new Christian because it’s fifty shades of “nay” for Charlie Hunnam.
The “Son of Anarchy” star withdrew from the project, officially naming an “immersive TV schedule” as his reason for pulling out prematurely.
“The filmmakers of Fifty Shades of Grey and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam’s immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey,” Universal Pictures said in a released statement.
But shortly after the official announcement from Universal, rumors began to circulate that there was another reason entirely behind the departure. The Hollywood Reporter cites multiple sources that claimed Hunnam got cold feet about the highly controversial adaptation and the pressure involved, or as Christian Grey might put it, performance anxiety.
Author E.L. James tweeted “I wish Charlie all the best x” reacting to the news, warning her followers beforehand that things were about to get “serious.”
Universal, director Sam Taylor-Johnson, and James announced Hunnam and his would be co-star Dakota Johnson as the leads this past summer after an exhaustive search. The reaction to the casting of both Hunnam and Johnson was divided to say the least. Many fans had named “White Collar” star Matt Bomer specifically as their personal choice for the role of Christian Grey, even starting petitions to reverse the decision.
In the immediate fallout to Hunnam’s departure, fans were quick to tweet out suggestions for possible replacements, include “Man of Steel” star Henry Cavill and the often-named “Vampire Diaries” actor Ian Somerhalder. Even “Two and a Half Men’s” Jon Cryer got in on the fun, tweeting “Now’s my chance!!”
Don’t expect a dry spell from Hunnam, however. Aside from “Sons of Anarchy,” he can be seen next in Guillermo del Toro’s next film “Crimson Peak,” also starring Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is currently scheduled to hit theaters on August 1, 2014.