It’s Fifty Shades of “No Way” for actor Charlie Hunnam who has departed the film adaptation of E.L. James’s racy novel.
Fifty Shades of Grey – which was to star Hunnam opposite Melanie Griffith’s daughter, Dakota Johnson – will have to find a new male lead after the British actor pulled out, citing other television commitments.
“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 announced in a statement.
Author James appears to have parted with Hunnam on good terms, sharing her thoughts on his exit with her 400,000 Twitter followers:
The actor – best known for his role in Sons of Anarchy – had previously spoken out about the “tangible chemistry” he had shared with Johnson in the Sam Taylor Johnson-directed flick. The pair were on the receiving end of a mixed reaction from fans when they were first cast in September, with Matt Bomer, Alexis Bledel, Henry Cavill and Elizabeth Olsen among the names previously rumoured to be in line for the roles. It remains to be seen whether Johnson will stay attached to the project following Hunnam’s withdrawal.
E.L. James’s erotic trilogy, which also includes Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, follows the saucy relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey and has sold more then 70 million copies worldwide.
The race is now on to cast Hunnam’s replacement, with filming on the project due to begin on November 5 2013 and a release date pencilled in for 1 August 2014.