Charlie Hunnam Wanted to Rewrite '50 Shades of Grey,' Butted Heads with the Director, According to Reports

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Charlie Hunnam Wanted to Rewrite '50 Shades of Grey,' Butted Heads with the Director, According to Reports

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | October 16, 2013 | Comments ()


You knew that there was much more to the story behind Charlie Hunnam’s departure from 50 Shades of Grey than simply scheduling conflicts (which obviously would’ve been worked out before he signed on). The Hollywood Reporter has excellently pieced together the behind-the-scenes story, which is not all that sordid. Hunnam, it seems, just really didn’t want to do it, because Hunnam is as smart as he is pretty.

Sources say his discomfort with the hoopla around the project had been mounting for at least four weeks before he bailed, which officially was blamed on his Sons schedule not allowing him time to prepare (the FX series wraps production Oct. 21; production on Shades begins November 1st). After signing Sept. 2, Hunnam faced a public frenzy on social media sites, where fans of the book congregated to fawn over and complain about his casting. Universal was forced to hire bodyguards for the actor …

In addition, Hunnam, who also is a writer is said to have submitted his own very detailed script notes on Kelly Marcel’s adaptation of the runaway best-seller. The notes were well received, according to sources, but that only led to Hunnam seeking further script approval, which was denied. “That’s Charlie, that’s who he is. He’s particular,” says one source.

According to another source, Hunnam, who was to be paid about $125,000 for the film, began butting heads with the creative team, including Taylor-Johnson. The conflict reached a fever pitch in early October, though everyone involved thought the issues had been resolved. But the discord spiked again Oct. 11. Hunnam’s team at CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners strongly advised him to stay on the project for fear that his exit would embarrass Langley — new to the chairman job — and burn a bridge with one of the major studios. That same day, Universal hired writer Patrick Marber — no stranger to taboo sex themes with his Oscar-nominated screenplay Notes on a Scandal — to do a polish and bolster the characters. But by then, Hunnam, whose heart it seems never was in the project, had decided to decamp. The next morning, the studio announced his departure, and James tweeted, “I wish Charlie all the best.”

Wait a second? He was only going to be paid $125,000? For a role this high profile? E.L. James wipes her ass with $125,000 bills. Granted, it would’ve raised Hunnam’s profile, but at what cost? Did he really want to be paid so little to be spank-bank material for millions of women with questionable tastes in literature?

THR also goes on to say that, of the four top contenders for the role, Jamie Dornan appears to be emerging as the front-runner, over both Alexander Skarsgard and Christian Cooke.

Jamie Dornan is this guy:


I’ll just say this, folks; If you really need to fantasize about Charlie Hunnam, there’s plenty of opportunities outside of 50 Shades of Grey. The Internet is a vast and wonderful place.

(Source: THR)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • I'd do it for $125,000 but I'm fairly mercenary, have no shame and am not trying to build an acting career.

  • I need to rob E. L. James's toilet

  • Sars

    I've never read the book, but that Dornan guy is way hot, and from what I've head of the character, would fit the dark and brooding (and kinda of abusive) character better. Also 125K? DAMN that is SMALL CHANGE. I mean seriously? for a role that would have exposed him to redicule and probably (most definately) killed his career. I guess he may have gotten a sequel, or royalties out of it, but he'd be a joke for the rest of time.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Does SAG even allow for someone to be paid that little for this kind of role? It seems borderline criminal. Did someone forget a zero?

  • koko temur

    I really, REALLY want it to be Dornan now, if only because eventually people would check out "the fall" and that will finally break the internet.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Marber also wrote Closer, play turned into movie. Also sexually frank. Though a little more real/important.

    But yeah, the rate for Hunnam is bizarrely low, if that is true.

  • mqa

    Could the $125,000 simply be a typo on the part of THR?
    Maybe they are missing a zero or two...

  • kushiro -

    I have a feeling that something called "butting heads" was probably a chapter in one of those books.

  • "E.L. James wipes her ass with $125,000 bills."

    Interesting. Figured she rolled them up and used them as a dildo.

  • alwaysanswerb

    And she wouldn't even need a beleaguered housekeeper to wash them up for her afterwards.

  • Archie Leach

    Hunnam and his people weighed the options of burning bridges with the industry folks involved with this piece-of-shit "movie" versus the irreplacable eternal damnation to his career with being involved in this garbage "movie" and smartly decided the former and walked. Thus WHEN this stinking pile of rubbish bombs at the box office, there will be no "Charlie Hunnam" associated with it. See. Elizabeth. Berkley.

  • Texastexastexas

    He should be getting about $10m + wee-bit commission just like any other actor would. $125k is Lindsay Lohan wages.

  • stella

    Leave Jaime Dorne alone, 50 Shades of Grey People...

  • Artemis

    I can't blame him for not wanting to do it, but I do think he comes out of this looking like a bit of a jerk. This isn't a Twilight situation where the actors signed on before it was clear how big a deal it was going to be. He knew before he took the role that there was going to be enormous media frenzy, how crazy the fans are, how bad the book (and presumably script) was, etc. This movie may be dumb, but it's still unprofessional to sign on and then decide you're not really interested and drop out a month before filming was scheduled to start.

  • Fredo

    From the article, it sounds less as if he was scared and more like there were true creative differences. As in, "I think things would be better if we do this" and the director going "No." That's common in Hollywood.

    Now, if you want to argue that he should know better than to try and improve 50 Shades of Grey....

  • Artemis

    Well, exactly. It's Fifty Shades of Grey. Anyone who was only willing to do it if it was well written should have (a) bargained for script approval or (b) just not signed on.

  • MauraFoley

    125k? DAMN.

  • Milly

    How much of the back end - snigger snigger guffaw guffaw - do you think he was getting?

  • MauraFoley

    Let's hope the back end payments have a flared base (salary). HAR HAR HAR HAR BUTT PLAY JOKE.

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