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While fans are continuing to bash 50 Shades of Grey’s casting choices in Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson, it turns out these leading characters weren’t E L James’ first choices. In fact, Hunnam and Johnson’s names were well down the list.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ryan Gosling was the production's first choice to play 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey. When Gosling, whose Crazy, Stupid, Love. shirtless scene has long proven his sex appeal, turned down the opportunity, production reached out to Tron cutie Garrett Hedlund. Hedlund passed on the role stating he couldn’t connect with the character.
British actor Christian Cooke was also courted to play Grey, but he too turned down the role.
Hunnam signed on last week with reservations, THR notes. He and Anastasia Steele did a chemistry reading last week to confirm their roles. Fans grew quickly annoyed with the choices and a petition began circulating demanding that Alexis Bledel and Matt Bomer be cast instead.
Johnson was not at the top of the casting list either. Felicity Jones, Shailene Woodley, (who couldn’t sign on due to filming conflicts), Alicia Vikander, Imogen Poots and Elizabeth Olsen were frontrunners.