Charlie Hunnam
Unless you were a fan of Sons of Anarchy, or Britain's Queer as Folk before that, you probably hadn't seen Hunnam until he stepped in to pilot a Jaeger in this summer's Pacific Rim. It was intended as a breakout role, but Hunnam was often singled out as the weakest performer in the film, and the movie's sluggish performance overall didn't help matters. And for the primarily female audience that will turn out for Fifty Shades of Grey, Hunnam will still be a completely new face-- which could help or hurt him.

As in everything, romance movies work differently for women and for men, especially in terms of what the audience wants to see from them. Kristen Stewart's job in Twilight was to be the relatable every-girl, while Robert Pattinson's was to be the brooding, emotionally unavailable hunk-- pretty identical to the role that Hunnam has taken as Christian Grey. At the very least Hunnam gets to actually be sexy as opposed to militantly abstinent, and director Sam Taylor-Wood's previous work suggests that she knows how to depict men as sexy on screen (you'd be amazed how few films actually pull this off). But anyone who's been to an all-male strip club know how ridiculous you can look when trying to be sexy and failing, and as the dominant force in the BDSM relationship at the heart of Fifty Shades, Hunnam will be walking that tightrope for the entire film-- and maybe even two more after that.

With a Pacific Rim sequel looking likely, Hunnam can always have that to fall back on, and he's burnished his macho reputation on Sons of Anarchy enough that Fifty Shades wouldn't single-handedly make him a beefcake laughingstock. And if it's a hit, he has the chance to show an entire new side of himself, possibly positioning himself as an alternative to Channing Tatum in "hunky guys who can do either action or romance." That's possibly a stretch-- Fifty Shades will be very different from the soft-focus romances Tatum has done-- but don't count it out. A movie based on a global publishing phenomenon will earn eyeballs, no matter how X-rated its content.

(Charlie Hunnam image via s_bukley /

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