Charlie Hunnam has dropped out of the 50 Shades of Grey movie just weeks after being cast in the lead role of Christian Grey.
"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," said a rep for Universal, the studio that is producing the movie.
It's not clear exactly what TV work of Charlie's is conflicting with 50 Shades. The sixth and final season of his hit FX series Sons of Anarchy is due to begin filming soon, but that was known before he accepted the role in '50 Shades.' According to IMDB, Charlie is otherwise only working on movies.
In his first interview after landing the coveted role, British actor Charlie said that he was "so excited to be entrusted with this empowering character."
Many fans of E.L James' hugely popular 50 Shades series weren't happy when Charlie and Dakota Johnson were cast as lovers Christian and Ana. Some even went so far as to organize a petition urging the studio to hire White Collar hunk Matt Bomer to be the lead instead. Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder also reportedly was interested in the role.
Neither Charlie nor his co-star Dakota have commented on the casting change yet. There has also been no announcement about who might play Christian now.
However, '50 Shades' author E.L. James did go on Twitter to respond to fan reactions about the news.
I wish Charlie all the best. x— E L James (@ELJames) October 12, 2013