Charlie Hunnam's sudden but not totally unexpected departure from Universal's Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation has left the studio scrambling for a replacement. In the meantime fans, who were pretty split on Hunnam playing billionaire BDSM fanatic Christian Grey anyway, have already begun politicking for his replacement. While we've heard Alexander Skarsgard, Christian Cooke, Theo James, and Jamie Dornan mentioned as possibilities, the real juicy rumors surround the reasons why Hunnam left, and it sounds like they were many.
According to THR, Hunnam was completely unprepared for the level of fan crazy by fans of the best-selling "mommy porn" novel. That seems a little strange for someone who has been in the business as long as Hunnam, especially coming off a global blockbuster like Pacific Rim and a hit TV series in Sons of Anarchy. It's unclear whether lonely, middle-aged soccer moms started hanging out in his driveway or anything, but extra security had to be hired at a handful of 'Anarchy' events because of the added attention. Clearly it rattled him, and sounds like a more plausible excuse than the mealy-mouthed "scheduling conflicts" reasoning the studio offered.
A writer in his own right, Hunnam also offered detailed script notes about Kelly Marcel's draft, which were "well received" and led to him seeking final script approval. He didn't get it, but he's also said to have clashed with director Sam Taylor-Johnson over creative issues. So what it sounds like is he was deeply unhappy right from the beginning, probably because he feared something like what you see in the included photo image, and sought to change the film in any way possible. And it's not as if he's missing out on any great pay day as he was reportedly only going to make $125K on the film, which is pretty small even for a budding star like him.
So the search marches on, and JustJared is now throwing The Borgias star Francois Arnaud into the mix of candidates. The 28-year-old actor has been "approached" for the role, whatever that means, but the frontrunners seem to be Cooke and Dornan. It could, and likely will, change again tomorrow.
Dakota Johnson and Jennifer Ehle await the final decision as Fifty Shades of Grey is set to begin filming next month for release on August 1st.