Jamie Dornan Takes Over Recently-Vacated ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Lead

By October 24, 2013
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It seems fairly likely that, years from now, we will look back on the bestselling popularity of E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” book trilogy and be deeply ashamed. Yes, even those of us who were never into the S&M-heavy novels or bothered to see whatever films ultimately sprang from James’ Twilight fan fiction.

Until then, of course, we’ve got plenty of Fifty Shades of Grey movie news to keep us from feeling the crushing depression of placing any stock in a movie that is, again, originally based on Twilight fan fiction. Perhaps that sadness is already overtaking us.

The big Fifty Shades news as of late is, of course, that Sons of Anarchy and Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam unexpectedly dropped out of the film, leaving the lead male role of “Christian Grey” in the punishing sex trilogy wide open for other takers. There were plenty of amusing comments to be made of Hunnam’s bowing out – that he had finally read the books, that he was embarrassed by the sudden scrutiny, that he realized that he has a somewhat respectable career and that this would irrevocably damage it, that he used it as a tool to advance his fame, what have you – but that’s all in the past, because Sam Taylor-Wood’s film adaptation has a new leading man to kick around.

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Variety reports that Brit actor (he’s from Northern Ireland) Jamie Dornan will take over the role of the cruel, sexy, and cruelly sexy Christian Grey. While Dornan has some solid stuff on his resume – he’s on the ABC series Once Upon a Time, he played a murderer in the well-received BBC Two drama The Fall, he had a supporting role in Marie Antoinette, and he’s done a ton of modeling work for high profile labels – he’s certainly less well-known than Hunnam, which may be exactly what the production was looking for.

The outlet reports that Universal and Focus “decided to go for more of a discovery” when recasting the role. Dornan and Billy Magnussen (who, it must be noted, played the world’s dumbest human in recent charmer Damsels in Distress) were brought in to test with leading lady Dakota Johnson last week, with Dornan clearly emerging victorious (though Variety does note there was some chatter about bringing in still more actors to test for the part).

Johnson is still on board as female lead Anastasia Steele, guaranteeing that the three pages of the book I once read did nothing to convey what sort of person Anastasia is.

The film is still set to release on August 1, 2014.

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss, Film.com, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.