You may remember a touch of drama surrounding actor Charlie Hunnam and the production of Fifty Shades of Grey back in 2013. While the Sons of Anarchy star signed on to play the highly sought-after role of Christian Grey in the E.L. James adaptation last August, the two sides ended up parting ways just a few months later. At the time, it was said that Hunnam was simply too busy with his "immersive TV schedule" and wouldn't have had time to properly prepare for the role - but it turns out that the truth is a bit more emotional than that.
While speaking to Moviefone, Charlie Hunnam has revealed that it was "something of a nervous breakdown" and a tremendous amount of work-related stress that ultimately led to his decision not to be in Fifty Shades of Grey. While the official line given at the time of his departure last fall was 100% accurate, it didn't fully take into account the full spectrum of his workload, which also included the filming of Guillermo Del Toro's upcoming gothic horror movie Crimson Peak.
To hear the actor explain it, a good deal of the trouble started when the filming of Sons of Anarchy's sixth season wound up running long (this was right around the same time as the Fifty Shades of Grey deal was signed). Around this same time, Hunnam had also committed to using his hiatus to reunite with his Pacific Rim director to make Crimson Peak. The whole thing left him fairly exhausted. Said Hunnam,
I imagine that it didn't help that Fifty Shades of Grey fans were signing petitions to try and get him and co-star Dakota Johnson removed from the film, but the truth is that the project was something Hunnam was very serious about. In the Moviefone interview, he explains that he appreciated director Sam Taylor-Johnson's vision and that he "fell in love with the character [of Christian Grey] and started seeing him and becoming intoxicated." He still has huge expectations for the movie, and felt horrible breaking his contract after signing on for the project. "It was just a shit situation," he said. "I was really, really, sorry to do it. It was one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't situations."
Fifty Shades of Grey, which will feature Jamie Dornan in the titular role instead of Hunnam, is currently in post-production and will be in theaters on Valentine's Day weekend next year.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.