The news of the casting for the movie version of E. L. James’s best-selling erotica book of the same name was reported by John Simon Ritchie
on Digital Journal
Channel 24 reports
, "As the Internet continues to explode and implode over the announcement [...], the movie's producer [Dana Brunett] and [...] James have defended their controversial decision."
Brunetti used her Twitter account
to explain the process for choosing the actors who will play lovers Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.
"There is a lot that goes into casting that isn't just looks. Talent, availability, their desire to do it, chemistry with other actor, etc.," she tweeted
. "So if your favorite wasn't cast, then it is most likely due to something on that list. Keep that in mind while hating and keep perspective."
James, in turn, responded to those expressing their opinions online, tweeting
, "To all the supporters, lovers and haters - thank you so much for the passion that you have for this project. You all rock. All of you. ♡ "
The long-anticipated news, which was broken by James herself through her Twitter account, brings to an end months of speculation on who would – not to mention, argument as to who should – play Fifty Shades
’s main characters, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.
In original the tweet
, James referred to Johnson as “lovely” and Hunnam as “gorgeous and talented”.
Hunnam, now 33, first came to prominence in 1999, when he played one of the leads – a 14-year-old gay lad – in Channel 4’s seminal drama series, Queer as Folk
, which was created by former Doctor Who
showrunner and Torchwood
creator, Russell T Davies. Having moved to the US some years ago, he is now well known for playing Jackson “Jax” Teller in Kurt Sutter’s biker drama series, Sons of Anarchy
This will be Hunnam’s second lead film role, having already appeared in this year’s Guillermo Del Torro-directed blockbuster, Pacific Rim
Johnson, 23, played the female lead in Ben and Kate
– the Fox US sitcom – and hooked up with Justin Timberlake’s Napster founder, Sean Parker in the 2010 film about the creation of Facebook, The Social
Network. She is the daughter of actors Don Griffith (Miami Vice
) and Melanie Griffith (Working Girl
To date, movie-wise, Johnson has had parts in 21 Jump Street
(2012) and The Five-Year Engagement
Shades darker and free
Fifty Shades of Grey
was published in 2011. It and its two sequals – Fifty Shades Darker
and Fifty Shades Freed
– have taken the literary world by storm, earning their author, the BBC reports
, approximately $95m (£61.5m) in 2012 alone. The stories tell the sexually-charged relationship between Grey, a billionaire, and Steele, a college student.
Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy
) will direct Fifty Shades of Grey
, the screenplay for which has been written by Kelly Marcel (Terra Nova
The casting announcement brings to an end months’ worth of speculation and argument as to who would or should play the lead roles. Last year, Bret Easton Ellis caused consternation
among many by declaring that a gay man could not possibly play the role of Grey.
Many actors’ names had been bandied about in connection with the roles, including Matt Bomer (White Collar
), Ryan Gosling (How to Catch a Monster
), Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe
) and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones
). Meanwhile, Taylor-Johnson’s actor husband, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass
) and Emma Watson of Harry Potter
fame both “publicly ruled themselves out of the running after being repeatedly linked to the Universal Pictures project”.
Fifty Shades of Grey
is expected to be released in cinemas in August 2014.