The latest wrinkle in the rapidly evolving casting saga that is "50 Shades of Grey" involves the details surrounding Charlie Hunnam's recent exit. Sources reportedly tell The Hollywood Reporter that the actor was embroiled in conflict with Universal Pictures over the film's script, leading to his decision to bow out of the project.
Hunnam, a writer himself, reportedly submitted extensive notes about the script. Executives associated with the film received those notes positively, according to THR, and Hunnam eventually requested further script approval but was denied.
That led to intensified conflict between the studio and Hunnam, who shortly thereafter threatened to drop the role of Christian Grey. The actor's team reportedly advised him to keep the gig so as not to damage relations with the studio, but his mind was apparently made up. In an effort to appease the star, Universal hired Patrick Marber ("Closer," "Notes on a Scandal") to do some rewrites on the script -- but the next day Hunnam announced his departure. (The official reason cited was Hunnam's production schedule on "Sons of Anarchy," but "50 Shades" is slated to begin work after production on "Anarchy" ends.)
THR notes that general media attention also contributed to Hunnam's decision to distance himself from "50 Shades," which would have netted him a $125,000 paycheck. As previously reported, reactions to the casting decision were quite divisive. Universal hired a bodyguard for Hunnam at the recent "Sons of Anarchy" premiere.
Jamie Dornan, Christian Cooke, Alexander Skarsgard and Theo James had already been shortlisted for the vacated role, and THR now indicates that Dornan ("Once Upon a Time," U.K.'s "The Fall") may be the frontrunner for the role.
For more behind-the-scenes details about the reasons for Hunnam's exit, hop over to THR.
What do you make of the latest "50 Shades" developments? Does it signal a troubled production? Sound off in the comments below.