E L James made it official on Oct 12 that Charlie Hunnam will no longer be portraying Christian Grey in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" film. Fans are shocked, media is stumbling to find answers and James herself seems at peace with the turn of events. The author tweeted immediately after the announcement, "I wish Charlie all the best. x."
The official announcement from Universal Pictures states that the move was due to a scheduling conflict, yet media and fans believe otherwise. Rumors are swirling that Hunnam, 33, was not prepared for the backlash and attention received once he was cast. According to sources at The Hollywood Reporter the "Sons of Anarchy" star did not oppose the role or movie itself, simply the pressure to bring such a scrutinized character to life with so little time to prepare.
"Sons of Anarchy" was set to wrap its sixth season on Oct 21, giving Hunnam only two weeks to transition into the dominant Christian Grey. Filming is still set to begin in Vancouver on Nov 5 but that may soon change. There has been no word from Team Fifty about who will replace Charlie Hunnam.
"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." -Statement from Universal Pictures