The intense speculation about who will be cast in the lead roles in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie has now come to an end. Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson have landed the roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia "Ana" Steele in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie. On Sept. 2, 2013, Universal Pictures and Focus Features (which are distributing the movie) made the announcement in a press release. "Fifty Shades of Grey" author E.L. James also announced the news on her official Twitter account. Rumors began in late August 2013 that Hunnam and Johnson would be cast as the lead characters in the movie.
The movie is based on James' best-selling erotic novel "Fifty Shades of Grey," which is about a sadomasochistic romance between a dominant, wealthy 27-year-old entrepreneur named Christian Grey and his submissive sex partner Anastasia "Ana" Steele, who is a 21-year-old college student.
As previously reported, "Fifty Shades Grey" is scheduled for release in cinemas on Aug. 1, 2014. The movie should premiere on demand later that year.
Sam Taylor-Wood will helm "Fifty Shades of Grey," which will be her second feature film as a director. Taylor-Wood also directed the dramatic film "Nowhere Boy" (about John Lennon's teenage years), which was released in the U.K. in 2009 and in the U.S. in 2010. "The producers of "Fifty Shades of Grey" are James, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti. The screenplay is by Kelly Marcel.
Hunnam (who is 33) is best known for his role as Jax Teller, the leader of a motorcycle gang, on the TV series "Sons of Anrachy."He also starred in the 2013 sci-fi action flick "Pacific Rim." Johnson (who is 23 and the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith) starred in the short-lived Fox sitcom "Ben & Kate," which lasted just one season before it was cancelled in 2013.
Matt Bomer, Ian Somerhalder, Henry Cavill, Alexander Skarsgård, Ryan Gosling, Alex Pettyfer, Chris Evans, Robert Pattinson and Garrett Hedlund are among the other actors who were most-mentioned as the ones whom "Fifty Shades of Grey" fans thought would be cast in the role of Christian Grey.
According to an Us Weekly article in July 2013, Hedlund (who is best known for starring in the 2010 movie "Tron: Legacy") turned down the role of Christian Grey because he didn't want to commit to doing the three movies that are being planned as part of the "Fifty Shades" series. Meanwhile, James was overheard telling people at Comic-Con in 2013 that Somerhalder was definitely not getting the role.
As for the actresses who were mentioned as possible contenders for the Ana Steele role, the names that came up the most often in Internet speculation were Alexis Bledel, Selena Gomez, Felicity Jones, Kristen Stewart, Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Emma Stone, Shailene Woodley, Emmy Rossum and Elizabeth Olsen.
"Harry Potter" star Emma Watson tweeted a denial to rumors that she was interested in the role of Ana Steele. Watson tweeted: "Who here actually thinks I would do 50 Shades of Grey as a movie? Like really. For real. In real life.”
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who is Sam Taylor-Wood's husband, also squashed speculation that he was being considered for a lead role in the movie. (The couple got romantically involved when they worked together on "Nowhere Boy.") Taylor-Johnson's publicist told USA Today: "Aaron is not doing '50 Shades of Grey.' Rather simple."
"American Psycho" and "Less Than Zero" author Bret Easton Ellis offered some insight into the casting process when he tweeted on Sept. 2, 2013: "E.L. James and I were at Rob Pattinson's house when she admitted that Rob was the first choice for Christian. Ian Somerhalder never in running. Matt Bomer was never in the running. When E.L. James asked me who I thought should be Christian I said 'James Deen, of course' and then she shoved me. We were both very wasted."
In a series of Twitter announcements, James tweeted on Sept. 2, 2013: "Good moaning all. Hold on to your hats... I am delighted to let you know that the lovely Dakota Johnson has agreed to be our Anastasia in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. So... Christian... The gorgeous and talented Charlie Hunnam will be Christian Grey in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. To all the supporters, lovers and haters - thank you so much for the passion that you have for this project. You all rock."
"Fifty Shades of Grey" fans have had mixed reactions (mostly anger and disappointment) to the news that Hunnam and Johnson were cast as Christian Grey and Anastasia "Ana" Steele.
Here is a sampling of Twitter reactions to the news that Hunnam and Johnson have the lead roles in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie:
"Ian wanted the part,but EL thought she knew better. I think the movie's going to be a flop due to bad choices."
"@E_L_James loved her on Ben & Kate... But she seems a tad old for Ana..... Hmmmmmmm."
"Charlie Hunnam & Dakota Johnson en Fifty Shades of Grey??? NOOOOOOOOOO, PLZ! #BomerForGrey #BledelForSteele"
"Matt Bomer is the only person I can imagine playing Christian Grey."
'REASONS WHY I'M NOT GOING TO SEE 50SOG: MATT BOMER IS NOT CHRISTIAN GREY ALEXIS BLENDEL IS NOT ANASTASIA STEELE BOOKS ARE BETTER THAN MOVIES."