While the Internet continues to waste time signing 50 Shades of Grey online petitions calling for the high profile erotic film to be recast, details are starting to surface regarding who else was eyed for the role and ultimately why they weren’t cast. Ironically none of the names mentioned thus far are the two rabid fans want the most for the film adaptation of the book by author E. L. James.
THR is reporting that Ryan Gosling was the “original prototype” for the role of Christian Grey, despite the fact that the character was originally written by James as Twilight fan fiction with Robert Pattinson in mind. Apparently Gosling was not interested in the role when presented with it, so Universal moved on to other candidates.
Tron: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund was apparently up high on Universal’s list and they went after him hard. Though Hedlund listened to what Universal had to offer, he ultimately passed citing no connection with the character as the reason. At some point British TV actor Christian Cooke was also in contention but not chosen for reasons unknown.
The role of Anastasia Steele might have gone to Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) had her upcoming press commitment to Divergent not overlapped with the 50 Shades of Grey production schedule. She was apparently a favorite of director Sam Taylor-Johnson early on and unafraid of the film’s full frontal nudity requirement, but her schedule simply didn’t fit.
Another actress on the list for Steele was former model Felicity Jones. According to The Wrap, Jones had a big issue with the full frontal nudity and turned down the project based on that requirement alone. THR states that Jones was too old for the project, but in this case The Wrap’s logic makes more sense as Universal would have never approached her to begin with knowing her age (30, the character is 21).
Other names up for the part of Steele included Alicia Vikander, Imogen Poots and Elizabeth Olsen, but ultimately Taylor-Johnson was smitten with Dakota Johnson and chose her for the part. Charlie Hunnam had to be convinced to take on the role of Grey for a planned trilogy of films and wouldn’t commit until after a chemistry read with Johnson. The read must have gone extremely well as both actors signed on the dotted line shortly thereafter.
There are still many unanswered questions surrounding the production of 50 Shades of Grey. Will the film be shot and edited into separate R and NC-17 cuts? Will the first teaser trailer drop during the Super Bowl? Who else is signing on to the project?
50 Shades of Grey is already locked into an August 1, 2014 release date. Production is expected to get underway within the next couple of months, possibly first for Dakota Johnson as Charlie Hunnam has to wrap up his duties on Sons of Anarchy that extend into October.