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.