By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire October 12, 2013 at 3:06PM
Charlie Hunnam is out of "Fifty Shades of Grey," Universal Pictures and Focus Features announced in a statement today.
“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," read the statement from Universal Pictures and Focus Features.
Hunnam is currently starring in FX's "Sons of Anarchy" and was set to star as Christian Grey in "Fifty Shades of Grey." Since the producers knew of his TV schedule when he was cast, it's likely there's more to the story.
Dakota Johnson has been cast as the female lead in the anticipated film adaptation of E.L. James literary phenomenon. The trilogy has been translated in 50 languages worldwide since its release, and has to date sold over 70 million copies worldwide in e-book and print, making it one of the fastest-selling book series ever.
The erotic books (which originated as fan fiction for the "Twilight" series) follow the relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and young businessman Christian Grey. When Hunnam was cast as Christian Grey, some diehard fans of the book protested the news. No doubt, they will have strong opinions about who the producers should cast as his replacement.
The Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed film will be released by Focus Features on August 1, 2014. Production was set to begin later this month.