It was a case of “Charlie Hunman exits stage left, giving 50 shades of why,” in a blazing publicity disaster for the film Fifty Shades of Grey, even before filming had begun. The Sons of Anarchy star had only just a few months ago been cast for the lead role of Christian Grey in the film adaptation of the E.L. James novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.
The film, reportedly being re-scripted by Notes on a Scandal writer Patrick Marber, focuses on the bizarre relationship between billionaire businessman, Christian Grey, who is heavily into BDSM (a sexual practice relating to bondage, discipline and sadomasochism) and his new assistant, blushing virgin yet sharp-minded literary scholar, Anastasia Steele.
With fifty shades of reasons cited for his departure, Hunman quit the role in which he was set to perform opposite Dakota Johnson, who was cast as Anastasia Steele. As things stand, Johnson’s role seems to remain in tact, while speculation abounds as to who will now be replacing Hunman.
Initial reports stated that Hunman was too busy to prepare for the role of Grey, as he was still involved in the shooting of a current series of Sons of Anarchy. Other reports suggested that Hunman’s pay for the controversial role would only equate to about $125,000 (£78,000), a fee that Twilight star, Robert Pattinson, who had been the original choice for Christian Grey, would by no means have accepted, according to sources. Pattinson was reported to have been paid $12.5 million (£7.7 million) for his last two Twilight movies alone.
Brey Easton Ellis, a close source to Fifty Shades of Grey author-turned-film producer E.L James, had tweeted that it was while they were both at Pattinson’s house that James had admitted to the actor that he led the running for the role of Christian Grey and that the role was his if he wanted it.
Nevertheless, it would now appear that Pattinson would not be able to take them up on the offer anyway, as he is said to be bulking up at the gym while making preparations for his new movie, Mission: Blacklist, in which he plays a US army special operative.
Ever since the announcement broke of the new Fifty Shades film and the further press release of its new stars to head the cast, 50 shades of hell had broken loose, mostly from fans of the “mommy porn” book trilogy by James, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. The majority of fans certainly did not favour either Hunman or Johnson for the roles of Grey and Steele and the media frenzy that subsequently followed as a result was probably more than Hunman could bear. Universal even had to hire bodyguards for Hunman as he recently attended a Sons of Anarchy event.
So what was it that caused Charlie Hunman to walk away from the lead role in Fifty Shades of Grey amid the media frenzy that is fast becoming a publicity disaster? Was it cold feet? Is he really too busy to prepare for the film? Would he have taken the money, knowing now that perhaps Pattinson would not have? Or was it perhaps because of the producers’ choice of actors that drew so much attention from the 70 million odd fans of the novels that became too overwhelming?
There is another story. Perhaps the real reason for Hunman’s grand exit could be his dissatisfaction with the script itself. A writer as well as an actor, Hunman has already penned a screenplay for the film Vlad, a Dracula-style gothic-horror that was picked up by actor and producer Brad Pitt, for his Plan B and Summit Entertainment productions.
Hunman had wanted script approval on Fifty Shades of Grey and expressed his own ideas as to how various elements of the script, adapted by Kelly Marcel, ought to be laid out, having done so in a lengthy submission of detailed notes to the producers, including director, Sam Taylor-Johnson. Sources have reported that although the notes were “well received,” Hunman had gone on and sought further script approval, which was then denied, leading to head-butting and a subsequent rift between Hunman and producers.
To throw more salt on the wound for Hunman, he was advised by his management and talent agency, CAA and Brillstein Entertainment to remain on the project in order to keep things sweet with themselves and Universal. The major film studio had even gone so far as to hire Notes on a Scandal writer Marber to do a clean-up job on the film script and possibly to appease Hunman. But it was too late. It appears that Hunman never really had his heart set on the role of Grey and probably found 50 shades of why not to do it.
True Blood actor Alexander Skarsgard, model-turned-actor Jamie Dornan known for his role in The Fall and Where The Heart Is and Romeo and Juliet actor, Christian Cooke are all reportedly the new frontrunners to replace Charlie Hunman as Christian Grey.
Written by: Brucella Newman