News Column

Charlie Hunnam dropping out of 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Good call, or bad move? (poll)

October 15, 2013


Oct. 15--The Internet got itself whipped up into a frenzy this weekend, with the news that Charlie Hunnam -- best-known for his role as Jax Teller on the FX hit, "Sons of Anarchy" -- was dropping out of the movie adaptation of "Fifty Shades of Grey."

As The Hollywood Reporter wrote, the official statement from Universal Pictures said merely that the filmmakers and 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." Hunnam had been cast opposite Dakota Johnson in the movie version of E.L. James' hot 'n' heavy bestseller.

There had already been an Internet conniption fit in reaction to Hunnam being cast, with fans of the book fuming that Hunnam wasn't the right type for the role, and lamenting the fact that other actors -- Ian Somerhalder ("The Vampire Diaries") and Matt Bomer ("White Collar") were two names often mentioned -- hadn't been cast.

Subsequent reports make it sound like Hunnam belatedly realized that he had, in fact, agreed to play the lead in the movie version of a book that leaves critics rolling their eyes but fans heaving excited sighs.

The Hollywood Reporter story followed up by citing sources who said that Hunnam had gotten "cold feet" about the movie:

Hunnam, 33, was overwhelmed with the attention he received from being cast in the movie and got cold feet about carrying such a high-profile project. Universal was forced to hire bodyguards for the actor at a recent Sons of Anarchy premiere, where questions about Fifty Shades dominated the red carpet.

The sources caution that Hunnam had no reservations about the role of Christian Grey, just the media and fan frenzy that came along with it, especially as he was transitioning from Sons to Fifty Shades so quickly.

Another (or the same one?) chatty source shared a similar spin with E! Online. From that report:

"The attention and the pressure was intense," the source explained. "More than anything he hates attention and being in Fifty Shades of Grey would force him to do lots of media. That's really not his thing. Charlie doesn't want to be massively famous. Plus, he hates conforming and being told what to do. This role would force him to have to be something he is not."

The fact that Hunnam even accepted the part as the S&M fetishist came as a "shock," the source said.

The filmmakers are reportedly in a scramble to recast, with production of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie scheduled to begin in early November, in Vancouver, B.C.

What do you think? Was it a good career decision on Hunnam's part to exit the high-profile "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie? Or did he make the wrong call?

Here's your chance to be an armchair entertainment analyst, and share your thoughts. Vote in our poll, and feel feel to comment on Hunnam leaving the role, and other actors who might fit the part.

-- Kristi Turnquist


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