The Internet’s Reaction to the Casting of Fifty Shades of Grey
When author E L James took to Twitter to announce the lead casting for the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie, fans were excited. After all, the film rights were secured in March 2012 and fans had to sit at the edge of their seats until September 2013 before hearing word of the leads was released. But excited as fans were, their excitement was cut short the moment the names were announced.
E L James, along with director Sam Taylor-Johnson and producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti were all pleased to announce their selections of Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele and Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey. Fans, on the other hand, were not so pleased.
The internet became what it’s known best for being – a platform for public outcry and general disdain. Twitter and forums were bombarded with people’s opinions on the matter and hollow threats to boycott viewing the film. It appears the film staff’s selection did not match up to public opinion of who would play the lead roles.
Various websites had conducted their own polls on who should play the parts prior to the announcement and neither actor even contended on any of the lists. For the part of Christian Grey, many individuals saw “The Vampire Diaries” star Ian Somerhalder, “White Collar” actor Matt Bomer, or “True Blood” star Alexander Skarsgard as the best potential options. Fans would’ve also preferred to see “Pretty Little Liars” star Lucy Hale, “Gilmore Girls” actress Alexis Bledel, or “That ’70s Show” star Mila Kunis to play the role of Anastasia Steele.
Some fans even went as far as signing an online petition to boycott the casting selection. The petition aptly named, “We Want Matt Bomer and Alexis Bledel as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele on 50 Shades,” gained 7000 signatures in the first 24 hours and went on to have over 90,000 signatures.
The filming crew stuck to their guns stating that their casting decision was based on several factors, including interest, availability, and chemistry. While the public was in an uproar claiming that Hunnam and Johnson looked nothing like their characters, the crew seemed to see a bigger picture. They weren’t bothered by the comments that Hunnam lacked the chiseled features to portray Grey or the remarks that Johnson wasn’t mousey enough to be Steele.
Yet, a month after the casting announcement, Charlie Hunnam stepped down. While fans would like to believe they played a role in the action, Hunnam was devastated and stated that he just bit off too much during an already hectic schedule. With shooting schedule to start only a month later, the crew was sent back to the drawing board.
Contrary to some fans’ wishes, Johnson was in it for the long run. Not only did she maintain her casting as Anastasia, but she played a pivotal part in selecting Hunnam’s replacement: “Once Upon a Time” actor, Jamie Dornan.
While he wasn’t a first choice for many fans, the public seemed generally happier with the selection; particularly given that Dornan’s physical characteristics were more in line with the image painted in the book. According to facial features expert Jean Haner, Dornan matches the necessary “sharp cheekbones and hollowness to his cheeks,” that are characteristic of men who like to be in control. Dornan seemed almost perfect for the role given his comfort during the lascivious scenes in Marie Antoinette and his many modeling roles with Calvin Klein, Doir, and Armani.
At this point, only the film itself will reveal if the casting selection was appropriate. If the trailers are any indication, then the film should be a success.