‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Casts Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey

'Fifty Shades of Grey' Casts Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey

Dakota Johnson has a new master after Charlie Hunnam disaster

After a steamy screen-test with Dakota Johnson, Irish actor Jamie Dornan has landed the part of Christian Grey in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” TheWrap has learned.

Dornan was among a handful of young heartthrobs to read for the role late last week, an individual familiar with the project told TheWrap. His main competition appears to have been up-and-coming Australian actor Luke Bracey.

Universal and Focus Features declined to comment.

Also read: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey': Jamie Dornan, Billy Magnussen First to Test for Christian Grey

Dornan is in negotiations to replace Charlie Hunnam, who dropped out of the hotly-anticipated project last week, citing a lack of preparation time due to his TV schedule for “Sons of Anarchy.” The FX series wrapped production on Oct. 21, while “Fifty Shades” doesn't head into production until Nov. 1, though it's unclear whether Christian Grey will be needed on set at the beginning of the shoot. With Jennifer Ehle cast as Anastasia Steele's mother, it's possible those mother-daughter scenes could be filmed first.

See photos: 16 Actor Replacements That Worked – Can ‘Fifty Shades’ Pull it Off Too?

In the week since Hunnam's departure, multiple individuals close to “Fifty Shades” told TheWrap that Hunnam was never really gung-ho about the project and that his manager, Cynthia Pett, ushered him into the risky role, which had less upside for an established star. Not only does Hunnam lead a hit cable series but “Pacific Rim” grossed $407 million worldwide.

See video: 5 Jamie Dornan Clips Before He Became Christian Grey

Hunnam is also a writer whose vampire movie “Vlad” is in development at Summit and Plan B Entertainment, the production company owned by Pett-repped Brad Pitt. Insiders say that Hunnam approached the studio with several notes on Kelly Marcel's screenplay, which she adapted from E L James’ bestselling novel. It's unclear whether Universal ordered a draft that addressed Hunnam's now-irrelevant concerns, though Patrick Marber was recently hired to polish the screenplay.

Sam Taylor-Johnson is directing “Fifty Shades of Grey” for Universal and Focus. Mike De Luca and Dana Brunetti are producing the movie, which is scheduled to hit theaters on Aug. 1, 2014.

See photos: Jamie Dornan Is Christian Grey – Meet the Sexy Star of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

Dubbed “the Golden Torso” by the New York Times in 2006, 31 year-old Dornan is a good physical match for 28 year-old Grey, and being a relative unknown may end up helping the public accept the actor in the role of the kinky billionaire, who millions of readers imaged differently. The imagination is a powerful thing, and an audience with no pre-conceived notions of the actor playing Grey could tailor their own fantasizes to Dornan's relatively mysterious cinematic identity.

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

One of the obstacles that Dornan and his agents had to overcome is the fact that his wife, Amelia Warner, is pregnant with their first child. While some in the press have suggested he turn down the role to help her through the pregnancy, the lead in “Fifty Shades” represents an incredible opportunity for Dornan that would help him provide for his growing family for years to come. Not only are Universal and Focus expected to put three “Fifty Shades” movies into production in the next five years, but for better or worse, Dornan would immediately become a tabloid fixture. He'll likely be on the cover of every major magazine in that span and as long as he steers clear of the red carpet at the Razzies, he'll develop a loyal fanbase that will ensure a degree of success for the next decade and perhaps longer.

See video: Charlie Hunnam Is Out, Josh Gad Is ‘All In’ for ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Role

Dornan, whose sole major movie credit is Sofia Coppola's divisive 2006 drama “Marie Antoinette,” can play both sides of good and evil. He played Sheriff Graham (aka the Huntsman) on ABC's fairy tale series “Once Upon a Time,” as well as a twisted serial killer in the acclaimed BBC series “The Fall,” which is currently available to watch on Netflix.

Dornan, who perhaps fittingly was born the town of Holywood in Northern Ireland, is a former rugby player and Calvin Klein model who honed his acting craft in London. It was there that he dated Keira Knightley, who introduced him to her agent. Dornan is now represented by UTA and United Agents.

  • Travis Reilly

    ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Casting Jamie Dornan as Play Christian Grey…

    Yeah, that headline reads like an EL James sentence.

  • AJ

    ‘hotly-anticipated'…. The Wrap keeps telling me that this is a big, amazing, exciting project that everybody is chomping at the bit to be a part of, let alone see as a finished film. Honestly, I don't know of anyone who's excited for these films. I fully expect the first on to tank in the theatre (though I expect it'll do middling-decent numbers on VOD and other downloads). This will probably end up being one of the most pirated movies ever simply because the people who like it don't want to admit it… they won't want to walk into that theatre.

    Furthermore, the majority of people don't want to pay for smut (hence the endless streams of free porn online). I just don't see this project playing out well for anyone involved.

    I could be wrong. It may be great…. but I'm glad Hunnam sidestepped it.

  • Christine Pike

    As a big fan of OUAT I am excited to see him take up this role. I will admit, I had high hopes that Alex Pettyfer would take the lead, but I cannot say I am disappointed. As for this who say this movie is not highly anticipated, or will be a “flop”, clearly they have few female friends in the range of 18-65 years of age. It is true that many women feel it is taboo to be associated with this series, but the majority have fallen in love with the books. I wonder whether women are so impressed by the story, the new-found freedom to express themselves sexually (either as dominant or submissive), or if the fascination is with the ambiguity of a relationship in which the masses rarely find themselves. It is a breath of fresh air from the typical boy-meets-girl story as it adds to the rather overdone thesis some deep personal interpretation, psychology, crime investigation, and blazing passion (which many relationships lack in this age of technology and apathy). I only hope that film-makers can capture the compelling undertones of this magnificent trilogy without focusing unnecessarily on the factors which anyone with access to a tabloid could rehash as though they were experts.

    • AJ

      I don't mean to start a war, but this made me chuckle “magnificent trilogy”.

      I'll give the marketing machine behind it some praise. And if you're post was referring to me, I have plenty of women in all age brackets and all walks of life in my orbit.

      I don't wish any movie to fail because I know the effort that goes into them. I just think the *chances* of this being a theatrical success are limited. I'm expecting about half what The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (US) brought in. Though, like I said, I could be totally wrong. It might be a wild success.

    • Kalia

      Magnifcent triolgy? ROFLMAO ALL of my friends are in that age range and those who have read think its stinks.Including myself. I kept reading thinking there has to be more? Of course I read a lot, so maybe that is why I didn't think much of this series. Written poorly, too many repetitive phrasing. And it just wasn't believable. I sure hope the script for the movie is better.

  • guest

    LOL! that man dosent look anything like CG is described. They are getting worse in ther casting, nobody is going to see that movie.

  • Kalia

    Fifty Shades of Crap.

  • van

    oh!my!god!#hottie

  • Henri

    Jamie Doman will need grey contacts and some very good acting to hid those kind eyes.He might be able to pull it off!!!!!!!!!!!

  • emamamma

    Horrible choice

  • Malo

    I'm blaming all the depraved housewives who can't get their hands out of their pants for this movie happening and ruining the career of an actor I like. I hope like Hunnam he can get the hell out of this cesspool of a project. Let's not kid ourselves – that's what it is.

    • Having fun

      Frigid, eh?

  • Vino

    No personality….sorreee…

  • INTHEBUSINESS

    NAKED PEOPLE IN S ANS M SITUATIONS- EVERYONE WILL SEE IT- UNLESS KIM KARDASSIAN PLAYS THE LEAD- THEN YOU ARE RIGHT- DOA.

  • Nicole22j

    MUCH BETTER casting!!! much much much much! Hotness prevails! Thank goodness that other guy dropped.

  • Clara

    He's got a crooked nose.. Nothing like the Greek god described in the book. This guy a big turn off