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In surprise move, Hunnam exits '50 Shades' role [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

October 14, 2013


In surprise move, Hunnam exits '50 Shades' role

Hollywood watchers and insiders were stunned this weekend after news broke that Charlie Hunnam was stepping away from the potentially star-making role as billionaire and sexual fetishist Christian Grey in the big-screen adaptation of "Fifty Shades of Grey."[239 191 189 ]

The official statement from the actor and Universal Studios, which rather unconvincingly explained away his decision by saying that his "Sons of Anarchy" schedule didn't allow him enough time to prepare for the sexy role, got tongues wagging.

For her part, author EL James was magnanimous, taking to Twitter to write, "I wish Charlie all the best."

Meanwhile, former child actress and "Matilda"[239 191 189 ] star Mara Wilson praised the move, tweeting, "Good for you, Charlie Hunnam," while the actor's "Sons of Anarchy" co-star Christopher Douglas Reed offered his support, tweeting, "Charlie Hunnam is a ... good dude. Regardless of his reasons behind 50 shades, he's an honorable guy who will be around a long, long time."

It's an abrupt and embarrassing switch for a high-profile film. Fans of the erotic best-seller are eagerly awaiting the movie adaptation, which will be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Dakota Johnson remains in the co-starring role of Anastasia Steele. A replacement will be sought for Hunnam, who last month said he initially turned down the role.

When his casting was announced in September, many vented online that the "Pacific Rim" actor was ill suited to play the seductive billionaire. Producers Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca took to Twitter to defend the choice, maintaining their two leads had good chemistry together.

-- Wire reports

Mercedes-Benz work by Warhol is on block

Andy Warhol's Mercedes-Benz silkscreen is coming to a New York City auction, where it's expected to fetch up to $16 million.

Christie's says "Mercedes-Benz W 196 R Grand Prix Car (Streamlined Version, 1954)" is being offered by the Daimler art collection on Nov. 12.

The collection was established 30 years ago by Daimler-Benz, a German manufacturer of luxury cars.

The 14-foot-high work shows the automobile repeated 12 times on the canvas. It was created in 1986 for the centennial of the modern automobile.

The model was the Mercedes-Benz Formula One entry in the 1954 and 1955 Formula One seasons.

The auction house says the sale proceeds will be used to secure the Daimler art collection's long-term future.

Warhol's cars series was one of his last works before his death in 1987.

-- Associated Press

Author David Laskin to speak at Rodef Shalom

David Laskin, author of a book dealing with his family's encounters with the upheaval of Judaism in the 20th century, will speak at the 10:30 a.m. Oct. 19 service at Rodef Shalom Congregation, Oakland.

Laskin is author of "The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century."

The writer also will be attending and speaking at the Torah study session earlier that day.

It is free. Details: 412-621-6566

-- Bob Karlovits

Image Comics founder invests in autonomy

Pow! Bang! Whomp! will be the sounds over at PBS on Oct. 15 when it presents a three-part series on the history of comic books, "Superheroes: the Never Ending Battle." One of the artists featured will be Todd McFarlane, creator of "Spawn" and action-figure tycoon who, along with six others, broke with the industry and formed his own company, Image Comic Books.

He operates with only a few rules, McFarlane says. "Rule No. 1, we don't own anything. Everything that you bring to us, you own. We just work for an overhead. We get a flat fee. The rest is on you. You get to keep all of the money. It's an unprecedented -- not only in comic books, but in entertainment -- deal that we actually give for people. And each one of us, then, that started, the seven of us, we also were autonomous that nobody would be able to tell us, even the seven partners, what to do. So my company, I get to do what I want. ... So we are free to come up with whatever eclectic superhero- non-superhero genre you want, and if it works, God bless you. Our growing example at Image Comics is this little thing called 'Walking Dead' that has exploded the last couple years."

-- McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Murray in talks to join Cooper-Stone romcom

After working with producer Scott Rudin on numerous Wes Anderson movies, Bill Murray is in talks to join the new Cameron Crowe movie that Rudin is producing in Hawaii, an individual familiar with the untitled Sony project said.

The romantic comedy stars Bradley Cooper as a defense contractor who's assigned to oversee the launch of a weapons satellite from Hawaii, where he falls for an Air Force pilot (Emma Stone). With the help of mystical island forces and a talking computer, they team up to scuttle the launch.

Rachel McAdams co-stars alongside Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin, Edi Gathegi and Jay Baruchel, who joined the cast last week as Cooper's stepbrother.

-- The Wrap

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