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'Fifty Shades of Grey': Charlie Hunnam is out

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(Read caption) 'Fifty Shades of Grey' has lost its male lead, with Charlie Hunnam saying his busy TV schedule left him little time to prepare for the role. Who will now be cast as Christian Grey?

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“Sons of Anarchy” actor Charlie Hunnam has dropped out of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie, leaving the production to begin the search again for an actor to play the character of Christian Grey.

Universal Pictures said in a statement that “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.”

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Hunnam stars as one of the main characters on the FX drama “Sons,” which is currently airing its sixth season.

“Fifty” author E.L. James wrote on Twitter, “I wish Charlie all the best. x.”

Actress Dakota Johnson, who is set to play protagonist Anastasia Steele, is presumably still on board. The movie is in the hands of “Nowhere Boy” director Sam Taylor-Johnson and had been given an August 2014 release date. It remains to be seen whether that date will still hold, as production was reportedly set to begin next month and the film must now begin the search for a new male lead. 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Zero Dark Thirty” actress Jennifer Ehle joined the cast earlier this month and will play Anastasia’s mother. 

So who will take on the role of Christian now? Fans who were pulling for their favorites such as "White Collar" actor Matt Bomer (check out our story on the petition to cast him here) are renewing their campaigns now. Stay tuned.