When news broke this weekend that Charlie Hunnam had quit Fifty Shades of Grey reportedly due to his "immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey," I couldn't help but think, "Hmmm ... not buying it!" Plenty of TV actors juggle their day job with prepping for a major film role. Heck, actors often throw in the towel on whatever other commitments they have -- even their personal relationships! -- if they really care about a big screen break. In other words, if Charlie had really wanted to be Christian, he would've made it work. Hence why Universal's statement sounds like a flimsy, PR-spun excuse.
Now sources are speaking to the real reasons Charlie walked away from the film, and it sounds like his decision had nothing to do with Sons of Anarchy's grueling shooting sched ...
Two sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Charlie was overwhelmed with the attention he received from being cast in the movie and got cold feet about carrying such a high-profile project. They also say it wasn't that Hunnam had reservations about playing Christian, but the media and fan frenzy that came along with the gig -- especially as he was transitioning from Sons to Fifty Shades so quickly -- got to him.
Another insider corroborated THR's sources' story to E! News: "This isn't a surprise, because what he was taking on with this role was not what Charlie wants in his future career. The attention and the pressure was intense. More than anything he hates attention and being in Fifty Shades of Grey would force him to do lots of media. That's really not his thing. Charlie doesn't want to be massively famous. Plus, he hates conforming and being told what to do. This role would force him to have to be something he is not."
Huh! So it's not that Universal and Focus got cold feet about Charlie not being an A-lister, or he couldn't take the heat of playing Christian, or that the script turned out to be a disaster, or E.L. James and the producers are feuding behind-the-scenes, or he found out he couldn't stand Dakota Johnson?! It's that Charlie doesn't want to be "massively famous"! Go figure.
Actually, it's not that bizarre. Not every actor wants to be the next Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum ... Charlie totally could've been on par with any of these guys been given his potential post-Fifty Shades trajectory. But maybe he wants a lower-key career, his privacy, a less aggressive fan base. Totally understandable ... and obviously proof that whoever does ultimately, finally opt to do his best to look good in Christian's suits is going to also have to be cool with a level of fame that comes with definite drawbacks.
What do you think about the real reasons Charlie dropped out? Which actor do you think will be able to handle the attention and pressure of playing Christian?
Image via Xavier Collin/Celebrity Monitor/Splash News