Charlie Hunnam quit 50 Shades of Grey three weeks before the start of production (on a film that’s supposed to be in theaters Aug 1, 2014). Universal Studios basically co-signed his resignation, though, and it even tried to bury its statement on a Saturday hoping no one would notice. However, aside from half-a-dozen marriages that weekend, nothing else of note happened so it was still news come Monday morning. As such, people are still picking holes in this statement: “The filmmakers of Fifty Shades of Grey and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam’s immersive TV schedule, which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey.” The “preparation” is largely considered to mean weight loss, since he got so big for Sons of Anarchy and Pacific Rim.
However, The Hollywood Reporter says it’s even simpler than that, “Two sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Hunnam, 33, was overwhelmed with the attention he received from being cast in the movie and got cold feet about carrying such a high-profile project. Universal was forced to hire bodyguards for the actor at a recent Sons of Anarchy premiere, where questions about Fifty Shades dominated the red carpet… The sources caution that Hunnam had no reservations about the role of Christian Grey, just the media and fan frenzy that came along with it, especially as he was transitioning from Sons to Fifty Shades so quickly.” Basically, the media frenzy/ backlash scared him off. He had buyer’s remorse, so he quit.
PEOPLE basically co-signs THR’s story in this report from a day later. “He dropped out of the project because he didn’t want to be typecast,” the PEOPLE source says. “He didn’t want the Robert Pattinson-esque attention that would come along with taking on this role.”
Us Weekly, however, has a different story. ”Charlie Hunnam was never going to do Fifty Shades of Grey,” insists one source close to the production. “He told his agents from the beginning he didn’t want to do it and was going to pull out.”
A different Us source, presumably from the studio itself, countered: “[Bailing was] truly due to scheduling. The role of Christian Grey requires a massive time commitment, a trilogy role in which Charlie and his team were originally very aware of from the start and a major consideration in his hesitancy for taking the role. Charlie is the lead in a massive TV series and his loyalty will always be to Sons of Anarchy, the SOA family and fans… this is not due to cold feet. Charlie is very true to his craft and something like the media circus is not going to deter him from taking a role. That said, the project wasn’t appearing to shape up as expected. There is no bad blood.”