By Allison Takeda
“Fifty Shades of Grey” — and none of them is the color of money.
As producers on the high-profile film adaptation of E.L. James’ erotic novel scramble to replace leading man Charlie Hunnam, the question on everyone’s minds is: What’s really behind the “Sons of Anarchy” star’s sudden departure?
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Hunnam may be the only one who knows the true answer to that query, but a new story from The Hollywood Reporter offers some interesting theories. The article claims that the actor clashed with director Sam Taylor-Johnson over some proposed script revisions, and that the tension came to a head in early October.
And there’s more. Buried amid all the talk of “creative differences” is this surprising bit of trivia: Hunnam was to be paid a reported $125,000 for the film, which is based on James’ wildly successful book trilogy. The series has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide and surpassed Harry Potter as the fastest-selling paperback of all time.
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Whether that paltry sum, combined with the star’s “particular” nature in choosing “passion projects,” contributed to his decision to leave is unknown. But as a source told Us Weekly after his departure, “ultimately it wasn’t worth it.”
Another source told Us Hunnam had doubts from the very beginning. “Charlie Hunnam was never going to do ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’,” one insider close to the production claimed. “He told his agents from the beginning he didn’t want to do it and was going to pull out.”
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Not so, countered a third source, who insisted his exit was “truly due to scheduling” conflicts with “Sons of Anarchy.” “The role of Christian Grey requires a massive time commitment, a trilogy role in which Charlie and his team were originally very aware of from the start and a major consideration in his hesitancy for taking the role,” the source told Us. “Charlie is the lead in a massive TV series and his loyalty will always be to ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ the ‘SOA’ family, and fans.”