Why the actor really walked out on playing Christian Grey...
Charlie Hunnam has dropped out of playing the lead role of Christian Grey just weeks before filming begins on the highly-anticipated movie adaptation of E.L. James' erotic bestseller.
A statement from Universal Pictures and Focus Features confirming the actor's exit from the film was released over the weekend blaming the Sons Of Anarchy star's hectic schedule as the reason behind his shock withdrawal.
The statement read: 'The filmmakers of Fifty Shades of Grey and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Charlie's immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey.'
33-year-old Newcastle born Charlie was chosen out of hundreds of Hollywood hopefuls to play the sexy CEO in Sam Taylor-Johnson's silver screen version of the S&M-themed novel alongside fellow lead Dakota Johnson, who is set to play student Anastasia Steele.
But the casting crew's decision to hire the lesser-known actor over A-list favourites Henry Cavill and Robert Pattinson did not go down well with some fans, and online petitions were soon signed by thousands to have him removed from the role.
Sources are now claiming that there may be another reason behind Charlie quitting, stating that the actor began to get cold feet about shouldering such a huge project.
'Charlie got cold feet', a film insider told HollywoodLife. 'He wanted to get out of the movie because he was feeling like it would be his version of Showgirls and he didn't want to be remembered for that. He wasn't ready for the celebrity status that he would receive if the movie worked out.'
'Add that with the studio execs being highly disappointed by the reaction to the casting, they wanted to start over with a clean slate'.
The announcement comes after the British star's open acknowledgement of just how much pressure comes with playing the infamous Christian Grey.
'There are so many fans of that book and I know that on the surface, I'm probably now what everybody imagined', Charlie told Entertainment Weekly. 'Because reading is so personal and people bring a character to life in their imagination, they feel ownership over that character.'
Charlie backing out of the 50 Shades franchise leaves the door open for another handsome Hollywood star to step into the sexy CEO's shoes. Will it be current hot favourites Matt Bomer or Henry Cavill? Who do you want to see taking on the Red Room of Pain? Let us know below...
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