How ‘Fifty Shades of Grey's’ Charlie Hunnam Casting Debacle May Help the Film

How 'Fifty Shades of Grey's' Charlie Hunnam Casting Debacle May Help the Film

The erotic movie will benefit from an actor willing to handle the pressure of playing Christian Grey

Was Charlie Hunnam‘s surprise exit from “Fifty Shades of Grey” a result of performance anxiety?

It sure seems like it, with no one in Hollywood buying the statement that Hunnam's “immersive TV schedule” didn't allow him “time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey.”

First of all, what kind of preparation does this role really require, aside from some careful manscaping and maybe a wild weekend or two of S&M bondage sessions? After all, it's not like this is Matthew McConaughey starving himself for “Dallas Buyers Club” or Daniel Day-Lewis spending months developing Abraham Lincoln's voice and mannerisms for Spielberg's “Lincoln.”

Also Read: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Replacing Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey

Second, surely Hunnam and his representatives at CAA worked out his “Sons of Anarchy” schedule with the “Fifty Shades of Grey” shoot. An individual familiar with Hunnam's schedule told TheWrap that Hunnam is slated to finish shooting “SOA” on Oct. 21, giving him three weeks to prepare for “Fifty Shades,” which seems like enough time to get himself in the proper headspace.

Hunnam even told reporters that after reading with would-be co-star Dakota Johnson, he knew he “definitely wanted to do it. There's just a tangible chemistry between us.” Was he genuinely excited to seduce Johnson on camera or was that just lip service?

See photos: '50 Shades of Grey': 20 of the Internet's Buzziest Casting Choices

Perhaps Hunnam's abrupt exit from “Fifty Shades of Grey” has nothing to do at all with the media scrutiny that comes along with a high-profile role identifiable with the legion of fans. It's possible that Hunnam is in the top-secret mix for another tentpole movie that offers him more time to prepare or, quite frankly, is simply a role he would prefer to play more than “Fifty Shades.”

Oddly enough, Hunnam and the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie come off looking like both winners and losers in this casting debacle.

Yes, Hunnam looks bad for bailing on a commitment and turning his back on a fan base that was coming around on his casting despite an absurd petition that would settle for nothing less than Matt Bomer as Christian Grey.

Also Read: Inside Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson's '50 Shades of Grey’ Casting: Chemistry Tests to the Dotted Line

But if he had severe reservations about the role, isn't it better that he drop out now?

A representative for Hunnam's agency, CAA, did not respond to multiple requests for comment, referring TheWrap to the carefully-worded statement released Saturday by Universal and Focus on behalf of the filmmakers and Hunnam.

Meanwhile, the “Fifty Shades of Grey” is now more than tainted than it already was, if one thinks Hunnam's exit signals a lack of confidence in the project and those making it. Perhaps Comcast should've waited for cameras to start rolling before firing Universal co-chair Adam Fogelson and well-respected Focus chief James Schamus.

That said, Hunnam's exit may be the best possible thing to happen for both parties. Not only has Hunnam “dodged a bullet,” in the eyes of many industry watchers, but the quality of the movie itself stands to benefit.

If Hunnam was reluctant to play Grey, that hesitation would certainly manifest itself in his performance. Now Universal and Focus, director Sam Taylor-Johnson, author E L James and producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti can refocus their collective efforts on casting someone who actually wants the challenge of playing Grey — and all the baggage that comes with the part.

Also Read: Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson: Before the '50 Shades of Grey’ Casting

It's better Hunnam realizes now that his heart wasn't in the role of Christian Grey rather than a month into production, which would've caused an even bigger problem. Instead, he had the guts to speak up before it was too late.

There's certainly no shortage of young and handsome hunks in Hollywood who would do almost anything to play Christian Grey. The “Fifty Shades” filmmakers have already started going down the list, hoping to keep the production's November start date on track. Of course, it will all depend on the availability of the actor chosen to replace Hunnam.

Will that mystery man need more than the three weeks Hunnam would've had to prepare for the role of Christian? Only time will tell… and that's the one thing Universal is running out of if the studio wants to stick to its Aug. 1, 2014 release date for “Fifty Shades.” If the start date is pushed back, perhaps the kinky literary sensation becomes a holiday season release. Stay tuned…

  • Mingle Media TV

    Personally speaking, I believe he made the right move – this movie will not be a blockbuster, its demeaning to women and I think he would be better in a move from the Anne Rice Trilogy… better written and he looks the part, strong, rugged and charming and women would give it up to him in a blink of an eye.

    • greaser1977

      the movie will be huge.

      • greaser1977

        as long as they don't cast justin bieber in the role!!!!!!!

        • Catherine Dyne

          OMG – now there's an image too awful to even contemplate, haha!

        • TrainerBra

          Yeah, give it to Justin and Miley and be done with it. There's two kids who aren't afraid of success–or the lack thereof, or doing demeaning things, or performing bits of bad writing, or worrying about career trajectories. And the fans and curious will still fill seats. In fact, I smell an interminable dress-the-part midnight movie at the Nuart right now! @Derek117:disqus @moviedemon:disqus @disqus_SKLvIexVY2:disqus

          • Guest

            Woops, I meant @disqus_SKLvIexVY2:disqus, not @disqus…..

      • Mingle Media TV

        dream on… it was a crap book series – not even good enough and it will be a Skin-a-Max special in the box office

  • friendof SOA

    What you are not including in your story is the way his personal life has changed already. At the studio, it went from a handful of fans to a large gaggle of professional paps and a new group of paps at his home, watching his every move and stalking his friends and family. Look at the larger picture. Charlie is a good guy.

    • boeningsol321

      my Aunty Eva just got a new Volkswagen Golf by working
      parttime online. why not try this out T­e­c­7­0­.­ℂ­o­m

  • hupto

    Assuming the property itself is the draw, the producers would be wise to cast the best possible person for the role, even if he's not a star, instead of a big name who might not be right. But yeah, they'll probably do the latter, because they just can't help themselves.

    • Mingle Media TV

      Yeah. and maybe no one wants it because the script sucks? Hello…

      • hupto

        Well, I WAS giving them the benefit of the doubt. ;-)

        • Mingle Media TV

          you are toooooo kind LOL

  • moviedemon

    I really don't understand why he was doing it to begin with. His career is on an upward trajectory and this film would have been a risky move for him. He could have easily ended up the next Elizabeth Berkley.

    In fact, I suspect this thought dawned on him and the result was his dropping out.

    Dakota Johnson has nothing to lose, since she is practically unknown anyway. If the movie is great, then it'll be great for her. If it totally tanks, she can probably lay low for a little while and move right on to something else.

  • Derek117

    What Charlie's pulling out of “Grey” finally brings to the public's attention is the fact that many actors/actress are, indeed, afraid of Fame. Yes, there are many actors who get into the profession because they want to “express” themselves or be an “artist”–but there are just as many who “fall” into the industry because they're physically beautiful and acting pays lots of money–and there's plenty of time off for sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll [Yes, Lindsay Lohan!]. There is a lifestyle-change that accompanies major success as an actor, but the individual has to be mature and confident. Too many of today's young “stars” don't possess the desire/smarts to handle the constant attention of the media & paps–and decide, instead, to back away from high profile roles. Young, pretty faces can make enough money doing low-grade action, slasher & horror films. So, they choose to settle for a minor league career. Welcome to the club, Charlie!

    • flawed logic

      I'm sorry but you're assuming that FSoG is going to bring in the kind of fame that opens doors to high-quality roles. There is a reason that famous actors turned down the role of Christian Grey before Charlie agreed to do it. Ryan Gosling, for example, is not afraid of fame and he turned down this role because he knows this could actually hurt his career and future opportunities for high profile roles. If the kind of fame that an actor/actress is looking for is the kind of fame that artists like Miley Cyrus are working toward, then this would be a great opportunity. Thankfully, that is not what Charlie wants as an actor.

  • 50shadesfan

    Dakota Johnson needs to go too. That's the only way this film will not be a disaster. The fans don't want her. Charlie had a warmer welcome than she has. She was only cast because of their chemistry, and now that he's gone, she needs to go too. They need to just recast both roles and start fresh, or drop it completely.

    • greaser1977

      you know….screw the fans- YOU ALL PUT UP THE MONEY and you get to cast who you want…….this crap is bullshit

      • Catherine Dyne

        ‘Screw the fans'? How charming! Everyone is entitled to their opinion – especially the fans. Without the fans neither the studio or ELJ herself would even have the project.

    • Lindsay

      Yes I agree!

  • David

    It isn't performance anxiety, it's that Charlie is one of the few
    actors in this town who does not want to be famous. He chooses roles
    based on the quality of the character but he's no fan of the limelight.

    • Catherine Dyne

      Bearing in mind the hype and media attention this whole FSoG thing has attracted from day one, he should've stayed away in the first place. If you don't want the limelight you sure as hell don't sign up for something as newsworthy as the role of Christian Grey. I was looking forward to his interpretation of Christian but think he's ‘pussied out'. Disappointed.

      • justAThought

        You're assuming he knew about FSoG and its popularity when he signed up. He doesn't look like the type of person who's reading tabloids and keeping up with the current trends. IF and ONLY IF he pulled out based on the unwanted media attention he received, he did the right thing to do so before production started. He is an actor who chooses movies based on quality and personal appeal and I don't judge him if he realized this movie is not what he thought it was.
        I was also looking forward to seeing him as Christian Grey but I'm happy to still be able to see him in SoA

        • Catherine Dyne

          Of course he knew what this movie was about! He even said his girlfriend had read the books. You would have to have lived under a rock to have missed all that's been said about FSoG this past year. He would have read the script, met the production team and discussed the role with them, then done the screen test (where there was supposed to be this ‘amazing’ chemistry with the awful Dakota). No way has he ‘just realised’ what the movie is about. I still say that IF the reason for backing out was to do with all the media/fan attention (something none of us know for sure) he should have seen it coming.

  • zp

    Thank god he dumped this godawful movie. Best move he ever made.

  • MJLawe

    Hmmmm, my guess is that he was bought off and asked to leave. What actor would voluntarily give up this role? None that I can think of.

    • doubt it

      You're forgetting that there were better-known actors who didn't even want to take this role in the first place….. Maybe Charlie thought it through and decided that, after all, this wasn't such a great opportunity for him. He's doing great with SoA so it's not like he needs the kind of fame that FSoG comes with, which is definitely not the type of fame he wants or others who have turned it down want either

  • Rower

    Smartest move Mr. Hunnam could make. This guy is a very hot commodity. A failure as epic as 50 Shades would kill that. And how many great movies about sex has Hollywood made. By the nature of the studio system, they are afraid of sex and it either comes off as sophmoric, prudish or outlandish. And need I remind anyone how silly the books were? They are better suited to a Jackie Collin's-type miniseries.
    There's a lot of guessing in this article rather than fact. The writer has no idea what happened or why Mr. Hunnam dropped out. (Maybe it should be on an opinion page rather than treated as news.) But this movie, even if it's a box office hit will be derided and the male star of this film will take the brunt of that derision because the character as written in the bookx is so absurd and silly to begin with.

  • Daniel Plainview

    This movie will win every Razzie the year it comes out. It will be a disaster, a big-budget movie based on mom porn for obese housewives. You're a good man, Charlie H!

  • Guest

    Oh he would have been a great CG…he's hot as hell on SOA!

  • Karla

    Maybe it is just me but did anyone else things this is just a stunt. Maybe Charlie Hunnam was a ploy? I know it is a little conspiracy theorist kind of thing but who is the gunmen on the grassy knoll? That being said maybe it was never really him, maybe he agreed to go along with a creative ruse. Not that FSoG need any additional publicity but it could be a stunt. Just sayin…

  • FSTM – Lights,Camera,Action

    I don't think Charlie backed out because he was nervous about all of the attention he would be getting and I really can't imagine that the sex scenes were causing him any anxiety (have you seen him on SOA … nuff’ said)… I think he was worried what this movie would do to his credibility as an actor so he decided to make the right move for this time in his career.

  • Melissa Worrall

    I don't think this hurts Charlie at all …we have seen the back lash to the crazy people out there and personally I think e.l.james and the producers and partners need to keep calm and open there mouths wisely as the public are getting sick and tired of there crap…I love fifty shades but this has not been handled properly they all need gags

  • Jolene Robinson

    maybe he realized it was a huge mistake and backed out. who really cares this is terribly written book and Im sure it will be a terribly written movie. This movie is a movie star career ender!