Fans Launch Petition Against Dakota Johnson, Charlie Hunnam in Fifty Shades

Charlie Hunnam Cast in 50 Shades of Grey

Charlie Hunnam - Photo © Richard Chavez

Ben Affleck likely knows just how Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson are feeling this morning after news of their casting in the lead roles in Fifty Shades of Grey broke over the Labor Day weekend. The reveal of Affleck as Batman caused a massive uproar on the internet, with Batman fans launching multiple online petitions to have Affleck removed and pretty much anyone else cast as the Dark Knight. Those online campaigns haven’t affected the execs at Warner Bros or prompted director Zack Snyder to change his mind, and Affleck as Batman is now a done deal that comic book fans have just had to accept (whether they’ll still turn out to see the upcoming Batman and Superman film is still a matter of debate).
 
As with Affleck, the casting of Sons of Anarchy‘s Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson (daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith) has met with resistance from some very vocal Fifty Shades of Grey fans. Neither appeared on the wish lists of Fifty Shades fans and now that the twosome are officially in place as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, online petitions are popping up suggesting alternate choices. The Change.org petition getting the most notice is one that asks the producers to replace Hunnam and Johnson with Matt Bomer and Alexis Bledel. As I type this sentence, that petition has collected 7,119 signatures.
 
Producer Dana Brunetti took to Twitter to explain the casting choices:
 
“There is a lot that goes into casting that isn’t just looks. Talent, availability, their desire to do it, chemistry with other actor, etc.” @DanaBrunetti
 
Brunetti added:
 
“So if your favorite wasn’t cast, then it is most likely due to something on that list. Keep that in mind while hating and keep perspective.”
 
And author E.L. James showed her support of the cast with this Tweet:
 
“To all the supporters, lovers and haters – thank you so much for the passion that you have for this project. You all rock. All of you. ♡” @E_L_James
 
Book fans may not be sold on the choice of Hunnam and Johnson, but petitions, angry tweets, Youtube rants, and anti-Hunnam and/or Johnson Facebook posts aren’t going to alter reality. Hunnam and Johnson are going to be the screen versions of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.
 
Hunnam has the talent, the looks, and the ability to tackle any role, and he’s got sex appeal as well as the ability to melt women – when he wants to turn it on – which should make handling the role of Christian something within his wheelhouse. It’s more shocking that he’d want to than that he won the role over fan favorites. Hunnam’s never been about the paycheck or about wanting to be famous, and in an interview I did with him back in July 2012 he reiterated his stance on fame.
 
“I’ve lived in the same house for 10 years and I can afford to live in a much bigger house, a swankier house, but it just doesn’t excite me at all,” told me in an interview for About.com. “What I think about is saving my money and buying a giant, giant plot of land somewhere and just like living off the land. Just live and be, and get in touch with what life is all about, and then come out of that occasionally and make a movie. I mean that’s always been my dream, that I could just live a little obscure life and then make movies once in a while because I felt from a very young age that I was like on the cusp of an existential crisis since I was about three years old. And I think that film, to me, for whatever reason, feels like a worthy enough endeavor to spend one’s life doing. Then you die at the end of it and you made two or three good films – that’s enough for me.”
 
With a starring role in what’s often referred to as a ‘mommy porn’ book, the ability to continue to lead a quiet life outside of the spotlight of Hollywood could be fading away.
 
As for Johnson, she doesn’t have enough feature film credits under her belt to truly be able to judge if she will prove doubters wrong and become Anastasia Steele.
 
* * * *
 
Also of Interest: Charlie Hunnam Sons of Anarchy Interview Video
 

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Rebecca Murray

Editor in Chief at ShowbizJunkies
Journalist covering the entertainment industry for more than 13 years. Member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and San Diego Film Critics Society.

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