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

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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