While I would love to start this story by telling you guys that director Sam Taylor-Johnson has already cast and filmed her adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey completely in secret, that just isn’t the case. We’re still being led down the long ball-gagged hallway of casting news, and today Variety has thrown a few new names into the mix - though at this point I wonder if they’re just choosing names by randomly pointing and clicking on IMDb. I doubt nothing these days.
On the male lead side of things, we recently reported that Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam was being eyed for the role of Christian Grey, but Variety says those initial reports were not confirmed, and that Hunnam and his reps actually denied the story. Apparently Hunnam actually passed on the project last week, but guess what? Now they’ve learned he is interested, and will probably meet with the film’s execs today (Or are they called sexecs?)
Hunnam fits right into the age group the studio looking for, after they decided to skew older following meeting with Divergent’s Theo James and Magic City’s Christian Cooke - both of whom are in their 20s. This is perhaps the only time in Hollywood’s history that younger isn’t seen as better.
Of course, they’re unsurprisingly still shooting for a young actress to star as Anastasia Steele. A couple of days ago, Dakota Johnson’s was named as a frontrunner for the role, but now she’s joined by three other actresses on the list of potential stars. The Descendants’ Shailene Woodley is reportedly in the mix, and she is joined by Anna Karenina’s Alicia Vikander and Jane Eyre’s Imogen Poots. Though these actresses have been namechecked by Taylor-Johnson herself, the producers aren’t denying that more actresses could still be brought in to read for the role.
Though neither Universal nor Focus Features have commented on the news, studio sources say that we shouldn't expect to hear about any official offers until after Labor Day. Nobody seems to be really worried about how long the casting process is taking, seeing as 50 Shades of Grey is a sexual romance and not a big budget, CGI-filled blockbuster that will need months of post-production work. It’s also not likely they'll need a ton of time to promote the feature, as just about everyone and their mother (especially their mother) has heard about the book and the adaptation.
What the studios really need to nail down is chemistry between the two leads, and it’s fine if they want to take their time with it. However, they need to fill one of the roles before they can do that.