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We’ve watched and waited as Fifty Shades of Grey got its casting sorted out, first finding its Anastasia and Christian in Dakota Johnson and Charlie Hunnam, then losing Hunnam and replacing him with Jamie Dornan, during which time some of the supporting roles have been filled in, including male characters Elliot and Jose. And all the while we’ve waited to see who would be cast to play the key role of Kate, Anastasia Steele’s best friend and roommate. Today, that question is answered, as Eloise Mumford has signed on for the part.
Variety posted news of the casting, stating that Kate’s casting was shelved by Universal when Hunnam dropped out of the role of Christian Grey, but since they’ve found a replacement, they were able to resume the hunt for Kate Kavanagh, which led to Mumford's casting.
In some respects, Kate’s not a particularly major role, as the story is mainly focused on Christian and Ana’s sexually charged and turbulent romantic relationship. E.L. James’ steamy novel centers on a college grad who falls for a slightly older billionaire with an eagerness to lure her into the dark and rough world of sadomasochism. However, it’s Ana’s friend Kate who prompts her introduction to Christian, as Ana meets the billionaire when interviewing Christian on behalf of her friend, who was too sick to do the interview. And later, Kate forms a relationship with Christian’s brother Elliot, who’s set to be played by True Blood’s Luke Grimes.
Eloise Mumford’s credits consist mainly of small screen roles, going back to a recurring role in Starz’s drama Crash. She went on to appear in the short-lived dramas Lone Star and The River before switching over to films with a part in the Miley Cyrus action-comedy So Undercover, and coming up a spot in John Stockwell’s thriller In the Blood. Unless they’re planning on changing the character's presence drastically, I wouldn’t say the role of Kate is a star-maker, but at the very least, it’s exposure for Mumford, and that’s not such a bad thing. To make a Twilight comparison -- because those tend to come up when discussing Fifty -- Anna Kendrick began to make more of a name for herself playing Jessica in the Twilight films. Her screen time was pretty limited, sure, but she always made the most of it. So there’s certainly something to be said for for supporting "friend" role in a popular movie.
I’m thinking this may be the last big piece of casting we’ll see for Fifty Shades of Grey, and it comes just weeks ahead of the planned start of production for the film, which is being directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and set to arrive in theaters February 13, 2015.