Christian Grey no more! Universal Pictures and Focus Features have announced that Charlie Hunnam will be replaced in the highly anticipated film adaption of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey due to his busy schedule.
“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,” the studios said in a joint statement on Saturday, Oct. 12.
After a tireless search, Hunnam, 33, was finally confirmed on Sept. 2 to take on the lead role of Grey alongside actress Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele. “So… Christian…” James teased via Twitter at the time. “The gorgeous and talented Charlie Hunnam will be Christian Grey in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.”
And now? “I wish Charlie all the best. x,” the author of the three book series wrote just moments after the shocking shakeup.
Days after Hunnam signed on for the erotic role, the Sons of Anarchy actor spoke out about what “a big commitment” the films would be, and how he had a profound chemistry with Johnson from their initial readings together. “I started reading with Dakota I knew that I definitely wanted to do it,” he said of the audition at the sixth season premiere of his FX series on Sept. 7. “There’s just like a tangible chemistry between us. It felt exciting and fun and weird and compelling.”
A petition surrounding the casting also surfaced shortly after Hunnam was revealed to take on the mysterious billionaire. Fans quickly demanded through an online petition that he be replaced by actor Matt Bomer.