The movie "Fifty Shades of Grey" will need a new lead, since "Sons of Anarchy" star Charlie Hunnam dropped out of his role, Christian Grey.
The Hollywood Reporter reported this past weekend that sources say Hunnam
, 33, struggled with the attention he received for the role, to the point that Universal recently hired bodyguards for him during the "Sons of Anarchy" premiere.
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"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 young billionaire Christian Grey," Universal Pictures said in a statement.
Hunnam's sudden exit forces Universal to scramble to find a new lead, as the movie is slated for release on Aug. 1, 2014.
Dakota Johnson, of the Fox series "Ben and Kate," is the female lead in the adaptation of E.L. James' best-selling book that came out in 2011.
E! News reported last week
that Jennifer Ehle, of "Zero Dark Thirty," was in talks to play Johnson's mother in the movie.
Suggested replacements for Hunnam include "Man of Steel" star Henry Cavill, Ian Somerhalder, of "Lost," and Matt Bomer of the USA Network series "White Collar."
"Two and Half Men's" Jon Cryer jokingly threw his hat in the ring on Twitter.
As of March, Random House sold 70 million copies of the "Fifty Shades" trilogy, which includes the follow up books "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed."
The series' print copies, audio books, and e-books have been available in English, Spanish and German. The sales made the "Fifty Shades" trilogy Random House’s fastest-selling series in its history.
By August 2012, "Fifty Shades of Grey" sold 5.3 million books in all formats, surpassing "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" as the highest-selling book ever in Britain.
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