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Jamie Dornan on Christian Grey role: 'I don't fear it' -- EXCLUSIVE

In a matter of weeks, Jamie Dornan will suit up to play the damaged billionaire Christian Grey — opposite Dakota Johnson’s Anastasia Steele — in the adaptation of  E L James’ bestselling novel Fifty Shades of Grey. The Northern Irish actor landed the role through a circuitous route, replacing Sons of Anarchy actor Charlie Hunnam after he dropped out of the film in mid-October. In this week’s cover story, he spoke with EW exclusively about his trek through the audition process and how he’s prepping his body for the part.

It’s the most high-profile role of Dornan’s career, one he’s approaching both rationally and with a great degree of excitement. “I certainly don’t fear it,” Dornan says. “I already got a glimpse into working with [director] Sam [Taylor-Johnson] at the test, and I’d met [co-star] Dakota [Johnson] by then. So I had a glimpse into how I felt it would be if I got the part. None of it scared me.”

Dornan initially performed an audition on tape for the first round of casting but didn’t progress to a face-to-face meeting until Hunnam bailed last month. “You know, one door closes, another opens,” Dornan says. “When he dropped out, I didn’t instantly think, ‘Oh here we go, maybe I should cancel that holiday,’ but I did feel that maybe we’d revisit the idea of me.”

Revisit they did. Dornan was flown out to Los Angeles for an intense, day-long audition opposite Dakota Johnson, who had landed her role in early September. The two re-enacted the initial interview scene when Ana first meets Christian at his spacious office in Seattle, followed by the climactic scene near the end of the book.
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'50 Shades of Grey': Jamie Dornan cast as new Christian Grey

Anastasia Steele has finally met her match. Irish actor Jamie Dornan is in final talks to play the billionarie BDSM enthusiast Christian Grey in the adaptation of EL James’ best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey. Focus/Universal, declined to confirm, but an inside source says the deal is in its final stages. The studio, to say nothing of the trilogy’s ardent fans, was thrown into overdrive when the original Christian, Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam, abruptly bowed out of the production two weeks ago. The casting of 31-year-old Dornan alongside Dakota Johnson’s Anastasia will hopefully steady director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s production that is slated to begin shooting mid-November.

Dornan began his career in front of the camera modeling for campaigns like Dior, Armani, and, quite memorably, Calvin Klein underwear. It seems fitting that the man who will play the 28-year-old CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc. was once dubbed “the Golden Torso” by The New York Times. He made his film debut in Sofia Coppola’s 2006 movie Marie Antoinette, and has since gone on to guest star as Sheriff Graham in the ABC series Once Upon a Time and play a serial killer in the BBC miniseries The Fall. The six-foot former rugby player married actress Amelia Warner in 2013 and the couple is reportedly expecting their first child together.

Here is a clip of Dornan looking lovely and brooding and rich, attributes that will come in handy for the franchise that now rests largely on the appeal of his ripped back. Fifty Shades of Grey is scheduled for release on August 1, 2014.

Weary 'Fifty Shades of Grey' fans rank the latest Christian Grey contenders

It’s been an emotional roller coaster of a few weeks for fans of E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. First they had to deal with the largely unwelcome news that Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam would fill the expensive shoes of sex god billionaire Christian Grey. But they rolled with it and were starting to appreciate the more rugged appeal of Hunnam… only to face the sting of his abandonment when he bailed out of the Sam Taylor-Johnson adaptation slated to begin production this November. (Focus/Universal for now remains committed to their Aug. 1, 2014, release date).

“There is definitely a sense of fatigue around the film,” says Crissy Maier, the co-founder of Fifty Shades fan site Laters, Baby, which has more than 20,000 followers on Twitter. “People are worried about what’s going to happen and if the movie is going to be degraded. But that comes and goes in waves. Once whomever is going to play Christian is finally announced, people will get excited again.” On Monday, producer Michael DeLuce said their Anastasia Steele, Dakota Johnson, was participating in chemistry tests with actors. Here, Maier offers the Laters, Baby community ranking for the rumored short-list of actors still said to be circling the role.
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'50 Shades of Grey': Dakota Johnson helping in the hunt for new Christian Grey

Anastasia Steele, the weak-in-the-knees innocent at the heart of EL James’ 50 Shades of Grey, is still searching for her dark prince. Focus has been scrambling to replace Charlie Hunnam after he recently abandoned the role in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s adaptation. Last night at the 2013 Hollywood Film Awards, 50 Shades producer Michael DeLuca  told E! News that 24-year-old Johnson, who remains committed to the role of Ana, was “our rock.”  DeLuca went on to say that “she’s helping us look through the candidates to see which chemistry kind of our captures our attention.”

Joining the likes of Alexander Skarsgard on the short list of rumored replacements is British actor (and former Calvin Klein underwear model) Jamie Dornan. The 31-year-old played Sheriff Graham in the ABC series Once Upon a Time, and made his film debut alongside Kirsten Dunst in 2006′s Marie Antoinette. (But again, do check out his fine work in the Calvin Klein ads.)
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Charlie Hunnam speaks out, post-'Fifty Shades': 'I am doing good'

Charlie Hunnam has appeared publicly for the first time since news broke that he was dropping out of Sam Taylor-Johnson’s high-profile film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Last night, the Sons of Anarchy star joined his castmates at an event benefiting the nonprofit One Heart Source in Burbank, Calif. Hunnam also spoke to E! News at the event, though those looking for a detailed explanation of his decision to leave Fifty Shades will be disappointed.

“I am doing good,” Hunnam, said, adding that he’s been busy concentrating on both work and “family stuff.” (According to E!, Hunnam’s father died this spring.)

“When I wrap the show [SOA season 6], I am going to go to England and see my people,” Hunnam, a native of Newcastle upon Tyne, added. “And then I have a film that I am doing with Guillermo [del Toro]. So I am going to go and do that and [then] concentrate on the final seasons of Sons.”

Hunnam didn’t address any of the rumors swirling around his exit — specifically, that he had serious reservations about the film’s script, and that he got spooked by the idea of bearing the fame that would come along with carrying such a popular franchise.

NBC-Universal employees were told last Wednesday that Hunnam’s part will be recast in the next few weeks; True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard is reportedly on the shortlist to play sexually adventurous millionaire Christian Grey, as are Tony-nominated actor Billy Magnussen and Jamie Dornan, star of the U.K. series The Fall, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

'Fifty Shades' casting rumor mill: Robert Pattinson? Alexander Skarsgard?

It’s sounding like Fifty Shades of Grey fans will have to wait longer than expected to find out which actor will replace the departed Charlie Hunnam in the role of 27-year-old billionaire kink enthusiast Christian Grey. The rumor mill ran rampant over the weekend that Focus/Universal would immediately announce who would fill Mr. Grey’s expensive shoes. While the studio still hopes to meet their mid-November start date on director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s adaptation, word is that no recasting announcement is imminent. For now the studio remains committed to the movie’s August 4, 2014, release date.

One interesting name said to still be on the short list is True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard. Never mind the fact that at 37, he’s a decade older than the character in the book. Skarsgard brings with him a smooth and easy sex appeal, at once capable of seeming aggressive and damaged. Perhaps even as important, the man has zero qualms about acting in the buff and is beloved for his low maintenance, relaxed off-screen nature. His rep didn’t return a request for comment. READ FULL STORY

Why 'Fifty Shades' lost its Grey: With Charlie Hunnam out, what's next for the movie?

On Saturday, the Internet lit up with the breathless all-caps news that Charlie Hunnam would no longer be playing the dashing if psychologically damaged billionaire Christian Grey in the big-screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. Some of best-selling author E L James’ readers were ecstatic, as it meant their dream casting for fan favorites like Matt Bomer or Ian Somerhalder might have life yet. But it was a gut punch to Universal/Focus, which is scrambling to recast a beloved role and still keep to their mid-November production start.
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Charlie Hunnam drops out of 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam will no longer play Christian Grey in the film version of Fifty Shades of Grey. According to a statement from the studios behind the film, “The filmmakers of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam’s immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey.”

The season 6 finale of FX’s Sons of Anarchy began shooting Oct. 11, one day before Universal Pictures and Focus Features made the announcement. Fifty Shades of Grey is due to hit theaters Aug. 1, 2014.

Fifty Shades of Grey author E L James responded briefly on Twitter: “I wish Charlie all the best. x,” she wrote. (It’s unclear whether her tweet 17 minutes before that one was related: “Okay girls and boys – hold on to your hats – it’s about to get serious…”)

Hunnam recently spoke to EW about the film for the Sons of Anarchy cover story now on newsstands: “There are so many fans of that book and I know that on the surface, I’m probably not what everybody imagined,” the actor admitted. “Because reading is so personal and people bring a character to life in their imagination, they feel ownership over that character. That’s daunting if I allowed myself to think about it too much. I’m taking it very seriously and intend to explore the nature of who this character is, what motivates him — and also dress up nice and look good in those suits.”

This penultimate season of FX’s tense biker drama has yet to deliver an episode that wasn’t super-sized. The Oct. 15 episode will again run 90 minutes.

'Fifty Shades of Grey' star Charlie Hunnam talks chemistry with Dakota Johnson

Christian Grey is all anyone can talk about.

Charlie Hunnam may have been attending the season 6 premiere of his FX biker show Sons of Anarchy, but the Fifty Shades of Grey star was eager to talk about the upcoming project and tease fans and reporters with details of his first readings with co-star Dakota Johnson.

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'Fifty Shades of Grey': Charlie Hunnam, Dakota Johnson roped into latest casting rumors

Fifty-Shades-of-Grey.jpg

The guessing game of who will star in the adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey — the erotic novel by E L James that has sold over 70 million copies worldwide — continues!

The film, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, is slated to hit theaters in August of next year, but so far the only news we’ve gotten are the names of actors who aren’t going to appear in the movie. (For a list of all the actors who have denied rumors they’ll star in the film — from Emma Watson to Sam’s husband, Aaron Johnson-Taylor, please click here.) The latest names being bandied about for the roles of Anastasia “Ana” Steel and Christian Grey? Dakota Johnson and Charlie Hunnam.

Dakota, 23, is the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. She’s appeared in The Social Network (memorably with Justin Timberlake), 21 Jump Street, The Five-Year Engagement, and the Fox show Ben and Kate. Hunnam, 33,  most recently starred in this summer’s Pacific Rim, as well as Undeclared and Sons of Anarchy.

However, a source at Universal cautions that they aren’t close to making any casting offers at this time, which means the game is far from over. Fifty Shades of Grey is slated to hit theaters in August 2014.

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