Variety is reporting that Universal and Focus Features has found their new Christian Grey in Jamie Dornan. Dornan is best known as The Huntsman in TV’s Once Upon a Time. Past feature film roles include a minor role in Marie Antoinette and a leading position in indie drama Shadows in the Sun.
This will be by far Dornan’s largest role to date, so it bears considering how the actor might cope with the barrage of publicity certainly headed his way. Hunnam cited the overbearing pressure of fan expectations and press inquiries as his reason for exiting the project.
An August 1, 2014 release is still planned, but it’s unclear at the moment whether the production will be sticking to schedule and begin the cameras rolling on November 5. It seems unlikely Universal/Focus would cast an actor unable to make the production schedule on such a high-profile film, but director Sam Taylor-Johnson could determine she needs more rehearsal time to develop the necessary chemistry between her two leads. Dakota Johnson is still set to play Anastasia Steele.