Charlie Hunnam is officially out as the devious Christian Grey in the upcoming film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, says Universal Studios. A crowded schedule is the official reason for his sudden departure, though his casting was met with a bit of friction since it was announced this summer.
Hunnam, perhaps best known for his role as gritty motorcycle gang member Jax Teller in FX’s Sons of Anarchy, received his fair share of hostility from Grey enthusiasts when his casting as Grey was announced. Fans groaned at the casting decision, clamoring that the tough guy persona Hunnam had established on Sons of Anarchy would make a transition into E.L. James’ seductive protagonist doomed from the start.
“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 said in an official statement. Hunnam was originally slated to star alongside Dakota Johnson in her role as Anastasia Steele, an announcement that only James ever seemed thrilled about.
“The gorgeous and talented Charlie Hunnam will be Christian Grey,” James tweeted after his casting. Hunnam even added that he and Johnson had the “tangible chemistry” necessary to make the erotic adaptation work. The film now faces a serious casting crisis with production scheduled to kick off at the end of the month. Fifty Shades of Grey is expected for a release next August, though the search for a replacement definitely could leave the studio with its hands tied for the foreseeable future.