With lead actor Charlie Hunnam bowing out and Patrick Marber coming on to polish the screenplay, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that “Fifty Shades of Grey” will meet its planned early November start of production.
Universal and Focus recently hired Marber, the screenwriter of “Notes of a Scandal” and “Closer,” to amp up the characters in Kelly Marcel’s script, sources confirm to Variety.
While some report that Marber was hired before Hunnam left the project, the “Sons of Anarchy” star had already made the decision long before the weekend, when it was first announced.
It’s not unusual for high profile scribes to do polishes on scripts before they film. Joss Whedon also reworked sequences in Marvel’s upcoming “Thor: The Dark World” as it was shooting.
But with the Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed movie expected to shoot next month, the studio is scrambling to find a new male lead. In addition to tweaks being made to the script, production on the racy project could now be delayed.
“Fifty Shades of Grey,” based on the best-selling novel by E.L. James, is set for release Aug. 1, 2014.
Marber is repped by Judy Daish Associates in the U.K.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.