Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson will portray Christian Grey and Anastasia Steel respectively, in the adaptation of E.L. James’ bestselling book by writer Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks) and director Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy).
Hunnam most recently appeared in Guillermo del Toro’s blockbuster Pacific Rim (and will reunite with the director for 2015’s Crimson Peak), but is also known for his starring role in the hit TV show Sons of Anarchy and other films like Nicholas Nickleby, Cold Mountain, Green Street and Children of Men.
Johnson has also appeared in a string of films like The Social Network, 21 Jump Street, The Five-Year Engagement and next year’s EA Games adaptation Need For Speed. Like Hunnam, her film roles are just a handful but now that the news is out that they’ve landed some of the most anticipated roles in a while, their names are going to skyrocket. However, since we’re technically in Twilight territory because James’ book was sourced from a fan-fiction of Stephanie Meyer’s magnum opus, we should remain highly cautious.
The plot of the book for those blessed without the knowledge – and seeing how it is basically porn for the Twi-hards, you would be forgiven – focuses on the deepening relationship between college student Steel (Johnson) and business magnate Grey (Hunnam), made possible through James’ wildly inappropriate descriptions of BDSM and basic bondage. Published in 2011, the book and its sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed have gone on to be worldwide publishing phenomenons with over 70 million copies sold all around the world, so there’s clearly an audience for the inevitable film adaptation.
As for Hunnam and Johnson themselves, both seem to be very likable actors with a host of good projects to their name so they will certainly do the best that they can with the severe lack of material. And if the filmmakers are indeed aiming for that NC-17 rating (the US equivalent of the 18 certificate for us British folk), then they will need all the bravery they can conjure up to perform in the more risqué moments. Here’s hoping that both come out on top (not in that way… ew).
Fifty Shades of Grey is on track for an August 2014 release. Women, get excited; men, bring your iPods.