Director Sam Taylor-Johnson and female lead Dakota Johnson have begun their search to cast the part of Christian Grey in their adaptation of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, following the departure of Charlie Hunnam.
A small group have been testing for the part, most notably Tony-nominated American actor Billy Magnussen (pictured above) and British star of The Fall, Jamie Dornan. The search is a relatively desperate one as Universal Studios and Focus Features hope to begin production at the beginning of November for an eventual August 1, 2014 release.
Magnussen, 28, was nominated for a Tony this year for his performance in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and will also star in the upcoming David Milch HBO project, The Money. Dornan, 31, is less established, having had small parts in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette and ABC’s Once Upon a Time.
Hunnam dropped out of the project on October 12, citing his busy schedule with Sons of Anarchy. There was an online backlash when the announcement of his casting came, with fans of the book series outraged at how unfit he was for the role. Hunnam has not commented on the backlash as potentially being part of his decision, but you have to assume that would get to a guy.
Many fans have been hoping for White Collar star Matt Bomer or The Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder to take the role, but neither have tested for it. I’d like to throw Michael Fassbender into the mix, because obviously.
Source: Hollywood Reporter