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The production of Fifty Shades of Grey was moving along smoothly until Charlie Hunnam backed out on Saturday. Since then, there have been new developments every day as Universal and Focus Features are being forced to take the production in a new direction with a month to go before production. Dakota Johnson is apparently still ready to play Anastasia Steele, while the studios have hited an Oscar-nominated screenwriter to look over the script.
Hunnam had cited a busy TV schedule, but it was later reported that the Sons of Anarchy star had just underestimated the attention the Christian Grey role came with. It would have forced him to take his career in a new direction that he didn’t want to go in, according to sources for E! News.
A source for E! News also claimed that Johnson was also struggling with the attention. Unlike Hunnam, her resume is very thin - her highest profile part may be her Social Network cameo and the short-lived Fox show Ben & Kate - but she is the child of famous parents Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. TheWrap is now reporting that Johnson is 100 percent dedicated to Fifty Shades and chemistry with her will be key for her potential male co-star.
Meanwhile, Universal, Focus and director Sam Taylor-Johnson are working with a new screenwriter to go over Kelly Marcel’s original script. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Patrick Marber (Closer, Notes on a Scandal) has been recruited to polish the script. Marber also worked with Taylor-Johnson on the short film Love You More.
Sources for THR also state that Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) and Jamie Dornan (The Fall) are in the running for the Christian Grey role. Jennifer Ehle is still on board to play Anastasia’s mother.