The search is over: Dakota Johnson (Ben and Kate, The Social Network) will play Anastasia Steele and Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) will take over the high-profile role of Christian Grey in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey.
Author E.L. James tweeted the news this morning. The movie will be released on Aug. 1, 2014.
No clear candidates for the high-profile roles had emerged since Focus Features and Universal paid $5 million in March 2012 for movie rights to the best-selling trilogy – but there were lots of rumors. Earlier this year, Emma Watson’s name hit the mill for Anastasia, which prompted the Harry Potter star to tweet “who here actually thinks I would do 50 Shades of Grey as a movie? Like really. For real. In real life.”
Armie Hammer also had to fend off speculation earlier this year that he was going to play the handsome lead in what he described as a “mommy porn” flick. “No one actually offered me the movie, but while I was working on Lone Ranger my agent brought it up, and I said ‘Nope,’” Hammer told Playboy. “I mean, come on — it’s just mommy porn. I’m not going to sit on top of the laundry machine in spin cycle reading about putting a ball gag in someone’s mouth. That doesn’t do it for me.”
Johnson gained some critical attention for her role in the Fox comedy Ben and Kate last season but the single-camera confection about a single mom who lives with her brother (Nat Faxon) was cancelled because of low ratings. After her small, scantily-clad part in The Social Network (she went to bed with Sean Parker, aka Justin Timberlake), she went on to appear in The Five Year Engagement and 21 Jump Street. She is the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson.
For the last six years, Hunnam has starred as Jax Teller in FX’s hit drama Sons of Anarchy. Earlier this year, he was the lead in the movie Pacific Rim.
Script for the 50 Shades adaptation is from Kelly Marcel (Terra Nova).