After countless rumors and well documented struggles to find its Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, the production of Fifty Shades of Grey is going to to have to do half of it all over again. Apparently overwhelmed by the publicity and media attention stemming from his attachment to the part of Grey, Charlie Hunnam has backed out of the role, according to a THR report.
Hunnam apparently cited a lack of time to prepare for the shoot given his commitments to TV’s Sons of Anarchy in combination with misgivings about anchoring such a high-profile project. The extreme sexual nature of the material was not the issue, or at least that’s the story.
It makes sense to an extent – actors and actresses have been vilified before for reasons less to do with their performances and more with the picture itself. Even when adaptations of popular material have been successful, actors like Elijah Wood and Daniel Radcliffe have spent years trying to avoid just being though of as Frodo Baggins or Harry Potter. On the other hand, it doesn’t sound like we’re quite getting the whole story. Hunnam proved very popular in this summer’s blockbuster Pacific Rim, and it’s hard to imagine his decision to accept the Grey role in the first place was a knee-jerk reaction.
For the moment, Universal is sticking to its target August 1, 2014 release date for Fifty Shades of Grey, but with a production start date of November 5, the clock is most definitely ticking to find Hunnam’s replacement.