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The Borgias' Francois Arnaud Also Rumored For Fifty Shades Of Grey

Following Charlie Hunnam's decision to not take part in the upcoming adaptation of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey, Focus Features has been rushing to find an actor to replace him. It was revealed this past weekend that the Pacific Rim star was dropping out of the project, and already we've heard a number of names that the studio is looking at as a new option. Frontrunners include UK TV star Jamie Dornen and True Blood's Alexander Skarsgard, but Theo James and Christian Cooke have reportedly kept their names in consideration and now Just Jared is adding to the rumor pile by reporting that The Borgias actor Francois Arnaud is also one of the actors being looked at.

For those unfamiliar with the source material, the movie will tell the story of a young literature student named Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) who, while subbing in for a friend, is assigned to interview a local millionaire named Christian Grey for the school paper. It doesn't take long for the relationship to turn from professional into sexual, and soon Anastasia finds herself learning all about the world of BSDM and sexual fetishes. Hunnam was cast as the male lead in early September - the same day as Johnson - but wound up leaving due to commitments to his television series Sons of Anarchy (it was also revealed earlier today that he was only going to be paid $125,000 for the part).

Arnaud, who hails from Montreal, Quebec, began his acting career in 2007 with a role in an episode of the French Canadian series C.A. His biggest role to date has been as Cesare Borgia on the Showtime series The Borgias, which has him regularly starring alongside Jeremy Irons:

On the film side, he has completed production on both writer/director Eugenio Zanetti's Amapola (a comedy that pairs the Arnaud with actress Camilla Belle) and the Balazs Juszt directed thriller Thursday (co-starring Riddick's Jordi Molla).

How this whole shakeup is going to affect the production schedule for Fifty Shades of Grey remains up in the air. In addition to needing to find a new star, it was also recently revealed that Oscar nominated screenwriter Patrick Marber has been brought in to do a rewrite of the screenplay from Kelly Marcel. Focus currently has the film scheduled to hit theaters on August 1, 2014 - the same weekend as Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy - but we'll just have to wait and see if production will start in time to make that release date workable. We'll have more updates for you as they come in.

Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.