Dakota Johnson will star as Anastasia Steele, the lead female character in Universal Pictures and Focus Features’ adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, it was announced today.
British author EL James, whose infamous knee-trembler has sold more than 70m copies worldwide, revealed the news on Twitter. She wrote: “I am delighted to let you know that the lovely Dakota Johnson has agreed to be our Anastasia in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.”
A few minutes later, the novelist added: “The gorgeous and talented Charlie Hunnam will be Christian Grey in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Johnson, whose parents are Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, is best known for her work on the short-lived Fox sitcom “Ben & Kate.” She also had memorable supporting roles in “The Social Network” and “The Five-Year Engagement.”
It seems that producers cast Dakota because they wanted a young, up-and-coming actress to play the role of virginal Anastasia, who embarks on an intense voyage of sexual discovery with her S&M-loving boss Christian, writes the Daily Mail.
Dakota’s casting ends a months-long search for Anastasia, one which saw actresses like Emma Watson, Shailene Woodley, Alicia Vikander and Analeigh Tipton mentioned as possibilities for the coveted role.
Newcastle-born Hunnam, who is 33, came to fame after appearing in popular North East TV series, Byker Grove. He has since appeared in Cold Mountain in 2003, Children of Men and, most recently, starred in Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim as the retired fighter pilot Raleigh Becket.
Hunman was among the few contenders thought to be connected to the role of Grey, along with Michael Fassbender, Robert Pattinson and Ian Somerhalder, says the Telegraph.
Producer Michael De Luca tweeted on Monday that Dakota and Charlie showed great promise when they auditioned for the roles together: “Auditions were stunning, incredible chemistry!” he wrote.
Now, Charlie and Dakota better buckle up, because they’re about to be skyrocket to more fame than they have ever known by being cast as the leads in the sexy book turned movie, which is highly anticipated by millions.
Universal and Focus acquired the rights to the three books in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy in March 2012. Focus Features will market and distribute the first film in partnership with Universal. Focus Features will release “50 Shades of Grey” on Aug. 1, 2014.
Sam Taylor-Johnson was revealed as the surprise director of the film version in June. The artist turned film-maker, whose only feature film to date is the acclaimed 2009 John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, reportedly beat out luminaries of the calibre of Joe Wright, Bennett Miller and Gus van Sant.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” has become a global phenomenon and the trilogy has been translated in 50 languages worldwide since its release. To date, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has sold over 70 million copies worldwide in e-book and print, making it one of the fastest-selling book series ever.
Controversial for its depictions of sadomasochistic sex and more, “Fifty Shades Of Grey” marked the rise of ‘mummy porn,’ or racy reading intended for mainstream, often middle-aged women.