Fifty Shades of Disarray: Where Do Universal and Focus Go From Here?

Dakota Johnson Charlie Hunnam 50 Shades

'Fifty Shades of Grey' release not expected to be delayed by loss of Charlie Hunnam but several questions linger

With Saturday’s news that Charlie Hunnam has fallen off “Fifty Shades of Grey,” all eyes are on Universal and Focus to decide whether or not to delay production on the high-profile feature next month.

Playing out like a dramatic episode of “Entourage,” Saturday’s announcement that Hunnam and studio executives couldn’t work out the actor’s “Sons of Anarchy” schedule was immediately met with speculation around town. While it’s unknown what, if anything else, went into Hunnam’s decision, a handful of sources believe his schedule would have been figured out long before it was publicity announced that he was joining the film, leading some to suggest the actor was dissatisfied with the sexy part.

Based on the best-selling novel by E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a hard R film that requires plenty of onscreen nudity and lots of patience offscreen, in terms of dealing with the hardcore fan base.

SEE ALSO: Patrick Marber to Rework ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Script As Charlie Hunnam Exits Racy Project

Co-star Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele in the pic, is still committed to play the female lead.

One studio insider said Universal hasn’t opted to delay next month’s production, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen, especially if the search for another male lead takes longer than expected.

Universal is still expected to make its release date of August 1, 2014, since the shoot itself isn’t too long.

“This film isn’t something like a ’47 Ronin’ where there is a long production followed by a lot of post,” one source said. “It should be pretty straight forward once it’s up and running.”

As for the replacement Christian Grey, U and Focus are in the unique position now where they can either choose to fork over big bucks for a high-profile actor or go the testing route and try to find an unknown that better fits the part.

Robert Pattinson was originally sought after for the role but passed on the project.

No other names are known at this time.

Whomever the studio and producers Michael de Luca and Dana Brunetti decide on, the process will involve testing with Dakota Johnson to make sure the chemistry is right and that could take weeks, leading the studio to go the new, discovery route since most established actors aren’t looking to waste their time reading for roles.

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  1. trish says:

    get rid of that nasty johnson girl or just dont make the movie!!! how many hundreds of thousands of fans have to say shes not right for the part befor these idiot directors listen….. theres no way I will go see her destroy the role af Anna….

  2. C. Pierce says:

    MATT BOMER !!!!! And Dakota has got to go !

  3. luna says:

    Well it look like they are going to keep this dakota and that is so,so sad but they will loss money at the box office she not very good at all she what we call want be ana she has no depth to her this movie is not going to be good at all if they keep this dakota.

  4. Nicole says:

    How about this for a totally radical idea – open casting call. Pick 2 totally unknowns who fit the parts, have great chemistry, and best of all – no filming schedules to contend with and no prior reputations to consider. Two people with nothing to lose who would lay it all on the line. THEN we might end up with a truly controversial film that contains all the kinky f**kery and fifty shades of f**ked-up-ness that the book has.

  5. Sonja Meyer says:

    Thanks for printing the truth. Glad to know there are still reputable mags out there. There’s still hope for this internet world.

  6. Johnnie says:

    The studio should make multiple versions of the movie, so every single fangirl is satisfied. They should literally make this film at least 6 times, so Matt Bomer, Henry Cavill, Alexander Skarsgard, Ian Somerholder, Rob Pattinson, Chris Hemsworth, Stuart Townsend, etc, can all star in it.

    Then you can have water cooler conversations like “did you see the Cavill version?” “No, I only saw the Bomer, Hemsworth and Somerholder versions.”

    Moral of this post: No one cares about your personal Christian Gray fantasy. Let the filmmakers make films. You do whatever it is you do.

  7. Shirley U. says:

    Well, I read the books and liked them. Although I liked the love story most of it. I didn’t have set people in mind to play these characters. I was very disappointed when they announced who they had gotten. But after investigating Charlie and looking at a variety of photos of him, I was okay with him being Christian. He, physically wasn’t it for me, but I could tell he had the background to handle this character. So as I said, I was okay with it. The same can not be said for Dakota. She is not Ana. She doesn’t have the background or the depth to do this character any justice at all. Physically, she is not even close. Yes, of course, she can dye her hair but Ana is suppose to be tiny, while she isn’t suppose to be drop dead gorgeous, she is suppose to be beautiful. She thinks she is average, others do not. Dakota is not this. Then you have the fact after these two were initially introduced as the characters and there was such backlash, we were given reports of the amazing chemistry between the two of them. Brunetti, E.L. James and even Charlie went on about it. They went on about it too much, like they were really trying to convince us. Okay, fine. But now one of the two with the amazing chemistry is gone. Pay Dakota what you must, let her go. Start over completely. Change some of the things needed. So many didn’t want the full frontal nudity. Rethink that. An actor worth their weight who wants a real career instead of just being famous, doesn’t want to add this to their resume. You can do sexy, you can do this film without full frontal nudity and in the process get actors who could maybe do it justice.

  8. Thomas says:

    I still think Hunnam should be playing the part – he was a great pick! So he’s taken a radical step, by stepping out. Well, I think that now the studio should respond by taking an even more radical one – prove its willingness to be patient, put on hold the wheels of motion, and try to bring Hunnam back on board.

    The way I see it……simply opting for a replacement would be weak-minded.

  9. My comment is simply this..get someone whos totally comfortable with one’s self someone who absolutely dominates the roll, also someone who fits the roll I want TALL LEAN MUSCLE. Well you know the deal
    How about Alexander skarsgard…he is perfect I.side and out! Wait one thing NO MATT B. Not good enough..sorry!

  10. Nicole says:

    (Please disregard/delete my previous entry, slipped and hit “post comment” too soon…)

    I was very disappointed to hear that Charlie is now out. Although the whole idea of him as Christian took some getting used after thinking about some of the fan favorites as CG (i.e. Ian Somerhalder, Matt Bomer), or even RPatz (let’s face it, I think he’s got at least the brooding part down), but it really made a lot of sense and I jumped on the Charlie bandwagon. Just as being a huge Sons of Anarchy fan, I could see the intensity, danger, and dominating alpha-maleness this role requires. And the abs – Oh the abs!

    However, I think this film’s first mis-step was not getting Bret Easton Ellis to write. First step to fluffery. Maybe they Bret would delve more into the bdsm than they would have liked, but I have such faith in him as an awesome writer who knows how to push the envelope (American Psycho, anybody?), that I know he would have come over “all hearts and flowers” enough to stay true to the entire story.

  11. Nicole says:

    I was very disappointed to hear that Charlie is now out. Although the whole idea of him as Christian took some getting used after thinking about some of the fan favorites as CG (i.e. Ian Somerhalder, Matt Bomer), or even RPatz (let’s face it, I think he’s got at least the brooding part down), but it really made a lot of sense and I jumped on the Charlie bandwagon. Just as being a huge Sons of Anarchy fan, I could see the intensity, danger, and dominating alpha-maleness this role needs. Such

  12. Common Sense says:

    I hope sanity prevails and this dog of a movie is canceled. The book was a joke. Stop flogging the dead horse and let this one die.

  13. Christina says:

    I think replacing Charlie is a mistake. He is THE perfect man for the job! I mean the character of Christian Grey is a very good looking, well chizzled, coper hair, rich 27 year old man with some serious issues. Have you not watched SOA??? Charlie plays that character now minus being a very rich guy. If Universal would have to push back the production to find another male to fill in the role…why. Not wait for Charlie to finish up SOA???? I can onlt see Charlie as Christian and so do all of my 50 shades lovers….look I’ll be real with you these books are not the kind I usually read but when I heard Charlie was going to play Christian Grey I had to read them…I got he books and read them all within 6 days! I was soo overly excited to see this movie with Chsrlie playing Christian..I’ve seen every movie Charlie has been in and he can do this…he is your guy!!!! Please. Please wait for him…Charlie…please re-consider..you are Christian Grey!!!!!!!!

    • Mary says:

      great idea…but…..I don’t think he will . I thought he would be good for the part also. He did not seem to have a problem with those scenes..in fact, I know he did some extreme scenes when he was only 18.
      and I have seen a few on Anarchy also…with the gal in the house. eh
      I think he is pretty much a private person..and did not realize what would occur when he took the
      role. ..all the press…the bodyguards etc.
      They all knew from the start about the scheduling etc.Too bad he waited so long to get out of it.
      Life goes on…lol

      • kayla says:

        That’s what I was thinking… But I think there is more to the story as to why he can’t or won’t.

  14. Jack says:

    What would be best is to give the whole project to Vivid Entertainment….they’ll have it all
    shot and edited in a day and a half.

  15. Sophie says:

    No matter who they chose, how many times they recast, the movie is going to be a fail in the BO(maybe not, since a lot will see it “out of curiosity”). Don’t even make me talk about the reviews it will receive. The theme of the books is horrible, I don’t know why would anyone want to sigh after a BDSM relationship and messed up characters. This is degrading to women. E.L. James should just stick to fanfiction.net. No actor/actress that wants to built a respectable career will accept a role in this movie, unless they’re really thirsty for fame, ex. Dakota J.

  16. Lauren says:

    Dakota needs to GO! She is not Ana, never will be. We do not want her. Ana’s role needs to be recast along with Christian. They need to stop and do this right, or forget it altogether.

  17. Here’s an actress that will be perfect for the role of Anastasia Steele, which i’m surprised was over looked and was never considered. ALEXA DAVALOS (Starred in Clash of The Titans & Chronicles of RIddick) She’s very beautiful and i could see her as Anastasia. My choice for Anastasia would be Alexis Bedele or ALEXA DAVALOS. As for Christian grey it would be Matt Bomer or Ian Somehalder.

  18. Melissa says:

    If they don’t get rid of Dakota now, the film will be a disaster regardless. She needs to be replaced while they’re at it. Team 50 took forever to get this thing going, and now there isn’t even a month before they are to start filming and we have no Christian Grey and no supporting cast. What the hell is happening? They need to move the release date back, TAKE TIME to recast Christian, recast Ana too, or else drop the whole thing.

  19. D'Leon D'Nepoleon says:

    We need Curtis Jackson as 50 and Ellen Pompeo as Grey! Scrape Dakota Johnsons she might be good in a WKRP ‘n Cincinnati remake! Or get Brad Pitt for Head of the Class : The Motion Picture! Don’t get me rite Dakota is ok. Bush dis movie, need moore luv’n kindness! And……

  20. J'aime says:

    Matt Czuchry would be an awesome choice. He’s capable of pulling off the young mogul, protective, dark and controlling. Doubt the sexy part would be hard either.

  21. Goodbyenoway says:

    Matt Bomer or Ian Somerholder

  22. kayla says:

    I’m Bummed that Charlie Hunnam can’t do it! If I was universal or focus I would look at Chris Hemsworth. He looks like Mr. Grey material!

  23. Mary says:

    I suggest Stuart Townsend….currently the lead in Betrayal..on abc tv…at nine tonight ..very good actor and handsome too. Good combo. Catch the show…see what you think..or watch the pilot on abc tv.
    You will enjoy !!!

  24. Josh says:

    Alexander Skarsgard would be the perfect Christian Grey!

  25. Priscilla says:

    James Scott of Days Of Our Lives would be great, He is at that age and very good looking and sexy

  26. harleyb says:

    How about Ben Affleck?

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