On July 24, 2014, the first official trailer for "Fifty Shades of Grey" premiered and became a massive hit on the Internet but got mixed reactions from the public. Within 24 hours of its premiere, the trailer (which features an alternate version of Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love") got more than 6 million views on the official "Fifty Shades of Grey" YouTube channel. People seem to either love or hate the trailer. (See a sampling of comments at the end of this article.)
As previously reported, Focus Features and Universal Pictures, which are releasing "Fifty Shades of Grey," unveiled the movie's first official key art/poster on Jan. 24, 2014. The image shows the back of "Fifty Shades of Grey" star Jamie Dornan, clad in a business suit, as he stands looking out a high-rise window at the Seattle skyline. The tag line says, "Mr. Grey Will See You Now."
The release of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie has been delayed to Feb. 14, 2015. As previously reported, "Fifty Shades Grey" was scheduled for release in cinemas on Aug. 1, 2014, before the change in release date.
As previously reported, Dornan replaced Charlie Hunnam in the role of Christian Grey in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie. Dornan (who is 32) is best known to TV audiences for his roles in "The Fall" and "Once Upon a Time." He was previously an underwear model for Calvin Klein.
In his personal life, Dornan dated actress Keira Knightley from 2003 to 2005. In April 2013, he married singer/actress Amelia Warner (Colin Farrell's ex-wife), who gave birth to their first child (a girl) in November 2013.
In a November 2013 interview, Dornan told Entertainment Weekly how he feels about "Fifty Shades of Grey's" sexually explicit content: “I’m a fairly worldly guy. I grew up in a very liberal place. I’m not saying we had a playroom, but I’m not shocked by [the sex in the book]. It’s essential to tell the story. I can’t believe films that don’t invoke the sexual side of it. So it works for me.”
Based on initial reactions on the Internet, many "Fifty Shades of Grey" fans think that Dornan is a better fit than Hunnam for the role as Christian Grey. "Girls" star Lena Dunham tweeted: "I'm a monstrous @JamieDornan1 fan. Wasn't allowed to be attracted to him on The Fall bc he played a sexmurderer. 50 Shades is my big chance!" (See a sampling of other Twitter comments at the end of this article.)
Just one day after it was announced that Hunnam had dropped out of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie, The Hollywood Reporter published an article on Oct. 14, 2013, reporting that Dornan and "True Blood" star Alexander Skarsgård were the leading contenders to replace Hunnam. Billy Magnussen, Francois Arnaud, Theo James and Christian Cooke were also being considered for the Christian Grey role, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dornan "actually was contacted before Hunnam officially dropped out, and tested Friday [Oct. 18, 2013] opposite female lead Dakota Johnson for director Sam Taylor-Johnson, author E.L. James and producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti. Tony-nominated actor Billy Magnussen also tested, as did Francois Arnaud from 'The Borgias,' according to sources."
In addition, the "Fifty Shades of Grey" filmmakers have hired a new screenwriter (Patrick Marber) to do "a polish and character work on the script," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Kelly Marcel was the original screenwriter for the movie.
As previously reported, the official reason why Hunnam dropped out of "Fifty Shades of Grey" was because of scheduling conflicts with his TV show "Sons of Anarchy," but E! News and other media outlets are reporting that Hunnam really quit because he was uncomfortable with all the attention he was getting for his involvement in "Fifty Shades of Grey," and he was concerned about how that notoriety might affect his career and personal privacy.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hunnam quit "Fifty Shades of Grey" because of increasing conflicts with the filmmakers over the movie's script. Hunnam, who is also a screenwriter, apparently felt he was not going to be given enough creative control over the "Fifty Shades of Grey" screenplay. Although he is said to have gotten along well with screenwriter Marcel, it is unknown how he would have worked with Marber, the writer who replaced Marcel. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the filmmakers shot down some of Hunnam's ideas for the screenplay, and that rejection was one of the main reasons why he walked away from the movie.
A source also told The Hollywood Reporter that Hunnam's salary for "Fifty Shades of Grey" was only going to be $125,000 for the film, which is a very low amount of money for a semi-famous actor who has a starring role in a major studio movie that is expected to make millions. Perhaps Hunnam had a clause in his contract to be paid a share of the movie's profits in exchange for a low salary up front, but further details about his "Fifty Shades of Grey" contract have not been made public.
On Oct. 12, 2013, Universal Pictures and Focus Features issued this joint statement: "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."
In one of his first public comments since leaving "Fifty Shades of Grey," Hunnam told E! News on Oct. 19, 2013, at the second annual Hogs for Heart charity event in Burbank, Calif.: "I am doing good. I am just really concentrating on work. It's been a really busy time. I have had some family stuff going on so just trying to stay focused and stay positive and keep trying to do a good job at work and be with my family and stay positive."
Hunnam's father passed away in May 2013, and the actor traveled back to his native Great Britain to be with his family.
Hunnam added: "I've got some family stuff I have to tend to. So when I wrap the show, I am going to go to England and see my people and then I have a film that I am doing with Guillermo [del Toro]. So I am going to go and do that and concentrate on the final seasons of 'Sons.'"
Fans of "Fifty Shades of Grey" loudly protested on the Internet and elsewhere about Hunnam and Dakota Johnson getting the starring roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia "Ana" Steele in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie. There was an online petition from fans to recast the movie with Alexis Bledel and Matt Bomer as the stars, since Bledel and Bomer were at the top of many fans' wish list of who should star in "Fifty Shades of Grey."
On Sept. 3, 2013, "Fifty Shades of Grey" producer Dana Brunetti responded to the complaints with this tweet: "There is a lot that goes into casting that isn't just looks. Talent, availability, their desire to do it, chemistry with other actor, etc. So if your favorite wasn't cast, then it is most likely due to something on that list. Keep that in mind while hating and keep perspective."
The movie is based on E.L. 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.
On Sept. 2, 2013, Universal Pictures and Focus Features (which are distributing the movie) made the announcement about Hunnam and Johnson in a press release. "Fifty Shades of Grey" author 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.
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 Brunetti.
Taylor-Wood previously worked with "Fifty Shades of Grey" screenwriter Marber on the short film "Love You More." Marber's other screenwriting credits include 2004's "Closer" and 2006's "Notes on a Scandal." He received an Oscar nomination (Best Adapted Screenplay) for "Notes on a Scandal."
Bomer (who is 36) and Bledel (who is 32) may not have been available to do the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie anyway. Bledel had already committed to co-starring with Jason Ritter in the Fox sitcom "Us & Them," which was supposed to premiere in 2014, but Fox cancelled the show before it even aired. Bledel is best known for her roles in the TV shows "Gilmore Girls" and "Mad Men," as well as in the two "Sisters of the Traveling Pants" movies. Bomer is the star of USA Network's "White Collar," a crime drama that has been on the air since 2009. Bomer's work in movies include supporting roles in 2011's "In Time" and 2012's "Magic Mike."
In October 2012, Bledel commented to Elle magazine about the fan support for her to play Anastasia Steele: "People definitely do have strong opinions about it. I guess when people really identify with a concept, they feel strongly about it."
In July 2012, Bomer commented to "Access Hollywood" about the "Fifty Shades of Grey" phenomenon: "It sounds amazing, and from what I hear, people are really into the story so I got to check it out."
Hunnam (who is 34) is best known for his role as Jax Teller, the leader of a motorcycle gang, on the TV series "Sons of Anarchy," which airs in the U.S. on FX. He also starred in the 2013 sci-fi action flick "Pacific Rim." Johnson (who is 24 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.
Bomer, Ian Somerhalder, Henry Cavill, 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 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."
According to a Hollywood Reporter article published on Sept. 4, 2013, several actors and actresses were in consideration for the starring roles in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie, including Gosling, Alicia Vikander, Imogen Poots, Olsen, Woodley and Jones. Woodley ultimately declined because of her work commitments to the "Divergent" movie series, while Jones (at 30 years old) was considered too old for the Anastasia Steele role. Johnson was director Taylor-Wood's first choice for Anastasia Steele, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Here is a sampling of Twitter comments about Dornan being cast as Christian Grey in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie:
"Jamie Dornan cast as Christian Grey. I'm into it."
"NOW I'm actually in-- ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Casts Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey."
"Hope Jamie Dornan's #50Shades casting gets more people to check him out as a serial killer in 'The Fall' (on Netflix)"
"This will be Christian Grey, his name is Jamie Dornan, let's take a moment to thank God."
Dornan commented to Entertainment Weekly about living up to fans' fantasies as Christian Grey: “There was a slight fear. But beyond anything else, I was really f*cking excited.”
Johnson said about getting naked for the movie's sex scenes: “Obviously, I want to look good naked. I totally understand now why people exercise, because it kind of f*cking feels awesome.”
Other announced cast members in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" include:
- Marcia Gay Harden as Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey, Christian Grey's mother
- Rita Ora as Mia Grey, Christian Grey's sister
- Luke Grimes as Elliot Grey, Christian Grey's brother
- Jennifer Ehle as Carla May Wilks, Anastasia Steele's mother
- Callum Keith Rennie as Ray Steele, Anastasia Steele's father
- Dylan Neal as Bob Adams, Anastasia Steele's stepfather
Here is a sampling of comments about the first "Fifty Shades of Grey" trailer:
From the official "Fifty Shades of Grey" YouTube channel:
"I love the trailer. I can't wait for the movie. I'm so excited."
"I'm secretly gonna watch it and probably enjoy it, my life is so sad."
"The song was the best bit about this trailer tbh"
"Lo this movie is going to far from flop. I won't be surprised if it makes it to the billion dollar range."
"Who wants to see crap like this. In real life this would be a 1 night stand with chick being thrown out of the billionaire's penthouse the next morning. "
"This movie looks fantastic. It really does. I just feel like this film is perpetuating ridiculous stereotypes about being in a BDSM relationship and is going to make people think they should be in that kind of relationship just because they got off to the things mentioned in the books."
"The actors chosen for this film are great. And when I say great, I mean believable. These look like normal people that you might actually see. However this trailer was also very well done, I hope the movie holds up."
"Let me get this straight..... watching porn is not OK, but this is so normal that will be allowed into cinemas? F*ck it.".
"I don't really like the actors :I I'll stick to the books with this one."
"I dont mind chick flicks.. being a dude. usually not half bad. but i shall never read the book to this. but the trailer just looks boring as hell. idk, maybe just a bad 1st trailer."
"I was really disappointed when I heard that none of Matt Bomer or Alexis Bledel were in the movie but now the more I watch the trailer the more I like the actors. I think we all had our expectations but we can't just say that Jamie will be a bad christian grey just by watching 2 minutes of a 2 hours movie."
"That girl looked like she was about to piss her pants at any moment. Swiveling her head all over the place like a pigeon and the dude just exudes creepy serial killer vibes. The book doesn't even portray BDSM accurately. this is all such a mess."
"Blank state trailer, for a blank state film, with blank slate actors."
"So not my Christian...verrry disappointed."
"I wanted really sexy people for the guy I needed some more color on his skin just saying. Lmao."
Can't wait to see it now, but i thought they would have picked a hottie to play christian."
"He's not cute!! He's so not doin it for me!! Booooooo."
"Christian bale needs to be the lead!!"
"Looks good but not sure if the castings were the right choice."
"Of course most of us will still go see it, but def with the terrible pick of cast it will not be anywhere near what it could be or should be. Not feelin a big rush to run and see it on opening day and fight the crowds after the trailer."
"OK now that I know that .I wanna see."
"I was expecting some eye candy when it came to the role of Christian.
"The more i watched the trailer -the more i like it, at first the Guy did nothing for me but now i'm beginning to see why they chose him for the role- he sneaks up on you- without realizing it i started liking him- LOL."