Universal Pictures and Focus Features announced today that Charlie Hunnam will no longer play Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey.
"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," the studio said in a statement.
He was going to star opposite Dakota Johnson and Jennifer Ehle in the August 1, 2014 release, to be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. The film will be based on E L James’ #1 bestselling book. Fifty Shades of Grey has been adapted into a screenplay by Kelly Marcel. Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti are producing the movie version alongside Ms. James.
Universal Pictures and Focus Features acquired the rights to the three books in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy in March 2012. Focus Features will market and distribute the first film in partnership with Universal. "Fifty Shades of Grey" has become a global phenomenon and the trilogy has been translated in over 50 languages worldwide since its release. To date, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has sold over 70 million copies worldwide in e-book and print, making it one of the fastest-selling book series ever.
"Fifty Shades of Grey" (first published in 2011) follows the relationship of 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele. Subsequent novels in the series, "Fifty Shades Darker" (2011) and "Fifty Shades Freed" (2012) explore the couple’s deepening relationship.