Charlie Hunnam has fallen out of Universal and Focus’ “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Universal said the thesp left the highly anticipated adaptation of E.L. James’ novels because of conflicts with the shooting sked on his FX series “Sons of Anarchy.”
Hunnam and Dakota Johnson were set for the lead “Grey” roles of Christian Grey and Anastastia Steel in September.
The stated reason for Hunnam’s departure immediately raised eyebrows. Many “Grey” fans were vocal about their dissatisfaction with the choice of the British thesp best known for his work as a hard-driving biker on FX’s action-drama series.
“The filmmakers of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam’s immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey,” Universal said in a statement issued Saturday.
Universal and Focus will have to move fast to find a replacement as production was set to start at the end of the month. Focus is also in the midst of a major exec shakeup, with the ouster of longtime leader James Schamus earlier this month and Peter Schlessel coming on board.
Hunnam’s departure may cause a delay in “Grey’s” production sked given how long it took to settle on Hunnam for the key Grey role.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is slated to open in August.