Producers of the upcoming film adaptation of the X-rated novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" can breathe a sigh of relief now that Irish-born actor Jamie Dornan has signed on to play the lead role of Christian Grey.
Variety first reported Wednesday night that Dornan has been tapped to play Grey
and fill the spot left by "Sons of Anarchy" actor Charlie Hunnam, who dropped out of the project earlier this month because of his hectic TV schedule.
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Dornan's name had been tossed around for weeks as a potential contender for the role of Grey, the successful yet troubled billionaire entrepreneur who embarks on a sadomasochistic relationship with innocent college student Anastasia Steele, who will be played by Dakota Johnson.
The 31-year-old former male model — once dubbed "the male Kate Moss" — and singer currently stars on the British TV show "The Fall." He also appeared on season one of ABC's fairy-tale drama "Once Upon a Time" as Sheriff Graham.
Though it's too early to tell yet how "Fifty Shade's" fierce fan base will react to the new Christian Grey, celebrities like "Girls" actress Lena Dunham and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis are applauding the casting.
Production on "Fifty Shades of Grey" is slated to begin Nov. 1, with a anticipated premiere date of Aug. 1, 2014.
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