The “Once Upon a Time” star has been officialy cast to play the lead character in the long-awaited blockbuster “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
According to sources who wished to remain anonymous, the negotiations between the 31-year-old star and the movie director were now underway to finalize the deal.
However, no other details were revealed, but some insiders familiar with the matter has been claiming that Dornan has been a “frontrunner” since Charlie Hunnam backed out of the project on Oct. 14.
The British actor who was to play Christian Grey in the ’50 Shades of Grey’ adaptation has dropped out, citing his busy schedule only weeks before filming was due to start.
According to the film’s producers, Hunnam had decided to withdraw because of his busy schedule. Hunnam stars in the hit TV series Sons of Anarchy and his preparation time for the role was limited.
“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,” Universal Pictures said in a statement.
Two sources close to the project told The Hollywood Reporter that the 33-year-old, originally from Newcastle, was overwhelmed with the attention when he was cast, and got cold feet about the project.
“There are so many fans of that book and I know that on the surface, I’m probably not what everybody imagined,” Hunnam told reporters at the time.
“Because reading is so personal, and people bring a character to life in their imagination, they feel ownership over that character,” Hunnam said.
“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.”
The film, from “Nowhere Boy” director Sam Taylor-Johnson, was slated for an August 2014 release. It is unclear whether or not the search for a new Christian Grey will push back the release date. Dakota Johnson remains in the co-starring role of Anastasia Steele.
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.”
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.
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.