As Universal scrambles to keep “Fifty Shades Of Grey” on track after the shocking departure of Charlie Hunnam, and while fans of the “Twilight” fan fiction turned erotica bestseller continue to hit the interwebs with their various petitions and pleas for their fave replacements, behind-the-scenes details of what went down are emerging. And while Hunnam himself has yet to speak on the matter and the official studio line is that scheduling with “Sons Of Anarchy” got in the way, a more complicated picture is being painted. One that perhaps saw a mix of unease about the part, low pay and lack of creative input kiboshing Hunnam’s interest.
According to THR, the frenzy around Hunnam’s casting—which many handcuff loving fans of the book disagreed with—already made the actor uneasy. However, he soldiered on, and rather surprisingly, he “submitted his own very detailed script notes” about Kelly Marcel‘s draft. These were “well-received,” however, this apparently bolstered Hunnam to seek script approval, which the filmmakers wouldn’t give him. (Patrick Marber was since brought in to polish the screenplay). Fine, few actors get that kind of sign off on a flick, but that might not be the only factor that was rubbing him the wrong way.
The actor was only set to make $125,000 from the movie, a particularly paltry sum. While that amount is probably common in Hollywood for unproven big screen actors—Rooney Mara earned roughly the same amount for “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo“—Hunnam is still coming of “Pacific Rim,” and has a dedicated TV following as well. And while that payday isn’t cited as a reason, we can’t imagine it helped, particularly given the scrutiny he was facing without a frame of film being shot. And in the days leading up to his exit, Hunnam reportedly began clashing creatively with director Sam Taylor-Johnson.
And perhaps this all metastasized into his leaving the movie which he initially had turned down in the first place. “One week ago or two weeks ago, he was on my set when they came back to him and they wanted him to do it because he passed on it once, you know,” “Sons Of Anarchy” director Peter Weller told Huffington Post last month. “They came back to him and I said, `Charlie, Charlie, Charlie, what do you think, this is too pulpy or something?’ He said, `Ah.’ `Well, let me give you the list of actors who did matinee idol style stuff, beginning with Cary Grant let’s go there. If you don’t do this, I’ll burn your house down.'”
Whether or not Hunnam’s home will be subject to metaphorical arson, we’ll have to see, but it seems Hunnam wasn’t really sold on the film in the first place, and as he got more involved, the more it didn’t sit right. So the search continues for a new Christian Grey, with Universal still sticking to an August 1, 2014 release date.