Fifty Shades of Grey was an unstoppable literary whirlwind, sucking up all the masses of readers who glanced upon its pages. The first iteration of the Fifty Shades franchise was unleashed back in 2011, offering an unadulterated look at the raunchy romance between its two main protagonists, Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. It will come as a great relief to fans of the series that the two main roles have finally been cast, as announced by E. L. James.
Overall, an unprecedented 70 million copies have been distributed, globally, surpassing the Harry Potter franchise as the fastest selling paperback book in history.
From a critical standpoint, the book was subject to highly divided opinion. Ultimately, however, Fifty Shades of Grey’s controversial inclusion of bondage/discipline, dominance/submission and sadism/masochism (BDSM) elements seemed to spur on the novel’s success, with a number of readers flocking to the story out of morbid curiosity.
Based upon astronomical sales figures, it came as no shock that the books were destined for film adaptation. Today, during a series of separate tweets, the Fifty Shades of Grey author, E. L. James, has announced the much anticipated, and equally speculated, cast.
The beautiful Dakota Johnson (aged 23) will star as Anastasia Steele, whilst Christian Grey (aged 33) will be played by Charlie Hunnam, famous for his television roles in The Son’s of Anarchy and Queer as Folk.
After countless months of wild speculation, the news will likely come as a surprise to many. Although both of these celebrity figures had been briefly mentioned as potential contenders for the Fifty Shades parts, they were by no means the favorites.
At one point, former Harry Potter star Emma Watson had been considered, alongside Armie Hammer; these rumors were later refuted by both celebrities. Aside from this duo, Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Ryan Gosling and Emilia Clarke had also, at one point, been in the running to assume the lead roles.
Apart from his role in the television series Son’s of Anarchy, Hunnam has acted in quite a number of high-profile movies, including Nicholas Nickleby, Cold Mountain and, most recently, Pacific Rim. Meanwhile, Ms. Johnson has certainly been no stranger to film, appearing in The Social Network and 21 Jump Street, and is currently involved in production of the Shakespearian play Cymbeline.
According to The Wrap, the pair had to perform a “chemistry read” to demonstrate their suitability for the parts, and convince the big movie executives that they had what it took to pull off the roles convincingly.
It’s thought that other high-profile figures had rejected the role of female protagonist, Anastasia Steele, due to the scenes of nudity. Johnson does not appear perturbed by Fifty Shades’ requirements, according to one of The Wrap’s inside sources, who maintains the actress to be incredibly tenacious, desiring the fame that was lavished upon her parents, who were also actors.
It is alleged that both stars have signed on for the entire franchise, with the reigns in the hands of Sam Taylor-Johnson, who will assume the role of director. Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca will serve as the project’s producers.
Alas, the author’s Twitter posts failed to mention when production was due to commence, or any of the names of the film’s supporting roles.
Fifty Shades of Grey’s release date, however, has been penned for Aug. 1, 2014. Now E. L. James just needs to wait for the next phenomenal payload to come rolling in, as her kinky love story is regaled through the big screen.
By: James Fenner