'50 Shades' Casting Scoop Reveals How Charlie Hunnam & Dakota Johnson Won the Roles

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charlie hunnamWith Fifty Shades of Grey fans going so far as to sign a petition requesting that producers reconsider their official Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, it's safe to say that not everyone is thrilled with Focus Features and Universal Studios' choices. But hey, people, you were forewarned! Further, it turns out there were various factors that lead to Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson being cast, which are being revealed now ...

Here, everything we know about what went on behind the scenes of the anticipated flick's contentious casting process ...

  1. Several possible Christian Greys passed before Charlie said yes. Sources say producers wanted Ryan Gosling for Christian, but he was not interested, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Garrett Hedlund was also sought as the lead by Universal, but he passed, because he "couldn't connect with the character." British TV star Christian Cooke was also a top candidate. Charlie himself was actually hesitant at first, but eventually said yes on August 23 when he met with director Sam Taylor-Johnson and producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti. Sources say the meeting convinced Charlie, who agreed to a chemistry read with Dakota the following week.
  2. Several possible Anastasia Steeles passed before Dakota was chosen. British actress Felicity Jones, who starred in Like Crazy, was a contender, but producers decided that the 30-year-old was too old to play a 21-year-old college student, and there was also buzz that Felicity wasn't into doing full-frontal nudity. Shailene Woodley was an early favorite of E.L. James, who was supposedly "heavily involved in the search." Shailene had no problem with the nudity, but she has conflicting press obligations for the would-be franchise Divergent, which opens March 21.
  3. Sam Taylor-Johnson pulled for Dakota. Apparently, she was one of her top choices, while the studio wasn't 100 percent sure, concerned that she may not be a big enough name. Guess they got over that, though!
  4. Charlie and Dakota's chemistry sealed the deal. Apparently, Charlie wouldn’t commit without knowing who would be his costar. In addition to the “chemistry read” with Johnson, Hunnam did tests with several actresses, according to knowledgeable insiders. But it was the sparks with Dakota that made Charlie feel comfortable making the leap into the Red Room of Pain.
  5. Charlie and Dakota are in this for the long-haul. The duo are signed for a trilogy, THR reports. Whoa -- sounds like that means Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed ARE happening no matter what?!

Are you blown away by this inside scoop? What do you find most shocking?



Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty

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Marga23 Marga23

I'm excited!!!

prplecat prplecat

What do I find so shocking?  That these godawful books are so popular that now movies are being made from them.  Doesn't anyone know what decent writing is anymore?

youth... youthfulsoul

Ryan Gosling o-O


glad he wasn't interested cuz I'm not interested in seeing him either!

nonmember avatar danalavoe

Im pretty excited. Totally warming up to Charlie.. the more i see him in (interviews/SOA)... the more I see him as Christian. I have a feeling Sam Johnson knows what she is doing.

danal... danalavoe

This movie will be awesome! YOUTHEFULSOUL, you're pretty funny....LOL

nonmember avatar LittleMo

How good an interview Charlie does has nothing to do with it. And if these 2 are staying for the movies form all of the books it doesn't bode well for the box office. With few exceptions fans are very much against this casting and they decide who is successful and who isn't. And those people making the snarky comments about "porn" and "no good writing" should research a movie called "Midnight Cowboy." It came out in 1968 and was Jon Voight's breakout role. It was about a sick New Yorker played by Dustin Hoffman and JV played a transplanted cowboy who becomes a male prostiture. The 2 of them kind of take each other under their wing and end up deciding to move to Florida and start over. Dustin Hoffman's character dies on the bus as they pull into the Florida bus stop. It was rated X for its time and was the only movie with that rating to ever be nominated for a "Best Picture" Oscar. It's not what the characters do, it's the telling of the story. And Dakota Johnson got her part b/c of who her parents are but I'm sure Charlie was told to never let that slip.

jessi... jessicasmom1

I dont find him attractive for lead role

nonmember avatar Jan

They got the parts because other actors threw
the shade.

nonmember avatar Dawn

They got the roles... obviously, ELJames idea of drop dead gorgeous is far fron what the fans envision.



They cut their own throats by casting actors that are significantly different from the ones the fans were pushing for. It was obvious that Matt Bomer was not approached, and yet he was a fan favourite. Ian Somerhalder was very interested in the part. He is extremely talented. The man bleeds sexuality, and they snubbed him. He could easily do the part.



I am just saying... they had options. They just didnt give a fig what the fans wanted. So, why should we care about this movie?



If I were Charlie and Dakota, I would be getting out of my contract. I wouldnt want to be weathering this storm

nonmember avatar Dawn

They got the roles... obviously, ELJames idea of drop dead gorgeous is far fron what the fans envision.



They cut their own throats by casting actors that are significantly different from the ones the fans were pushing for. It was obvious that Matt Bomer was not approached, and yet he was a fan favourite. Ian Somerhalder was very interested in the part. He is extremely talented. The man bleeds sexuality, and they snubbed him. He could easily do the part.



I am just saying... they had options. They just didnt give a fig what the fans wanted. So, why should we care about this movie?



If I were Charlie and Dakota, I would be getting out of my contract. I wouldnt want to be weathering this storm

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