According to an announcement made by Deadline earlier this week on September 2, 2013, after nearly a year of speculating about who would be cast for the lead roles in the immensely popular adult novels “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the film’s production company, Focus Features, has finally announced which actors will be portraying Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele – and their choices were shocking.
Rather than give the roles to the well-known and established actors like Mila Kunis, Emma Watson, Tom Hardy and Ryan Gosling, all of whom were considered and many of whom expressed interest, Focus Features elected to cast the little-known “Sons of Anarchy” actor Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey and the lesser-known actress Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele.
Hunnam, a British actor best known for playing Jax Teller in “Sons of Anarchy” will portray Christian Grey, a character Deadline describes as “a young, wealthy industrialist with a dark past who favors S&M relationships.” Although Hunnam has acted in a few major films like “Pacific Rim,” “Children of Men,” and “Cold Mountain,” he has yet to prove himself as a leading actor.
Dakota Johnson, who will star opposite Hunnam, is the daughter of actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, and will portray the leading lady, Anastasia Steele – a young college graduate who has a sexual awakening after losing her virginity to Grey. She falls in love with Grey, but she struggles with his need to fulfill his domineering S&M fantasies. Johnson has played minor roles in several feature films, but she still hasn’t proved herself to be a leading lady by any stretch.
Early reports indicated that the film would likely receive an NC-17 rating, which seems far less likely now. The NC-17 rating would mean the film would be projected on far fewer screens, and without an extremely powerful celebrity name behind the project it’s unlikely the series will get the massive audience it’s looking for. The R-rating will give Focus Features a much greater chance of gaining the attention of the 70 million individuals who have already purchased the books, which will yield the massive ticket sales expected from the immensely popular trilogy.
Furthermore, in addition to have little-known stars, the film will be helmed by the virtually unknown director Sam Taylor-Johnson, which will mean that the advertising efforts will be forced to rely exclusively upon the success of the books. This will certainly make the film’s box office results interesting, seeing as they will, for the most part, be limiting themselves to the readers who are interested in seeing a film adaptation of the extremely explicit novels.
“50 Shades of Grey” is set to hit theaters on August 1, 2014. Keep reading the Pittsburgh Film Industry Examiner for the latest news on the film!