Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam will not play the male lead in the film based on E.L. James’ bestselling novel. From USA Today:

Charlie Hunnam has dropped out of the lead role of Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey, Universal Pictures announced Saturday.

“The filmmakers of Fifty Shades of Grey and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam’s immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey,” Universal Picture said in a statement.

James responded to the news of Hunnam’s departure on Twitter on Saturday saying, “I wish Charlie all the best. x”

After casting was announced in early September, fans of the book vocalized their displeasure. A petition to replace Hunnam and Dakota Johnson went live almost as soon as the casting was announced. The change.org-based petition had collected 75,000 signatures by September 8th. The petition demands that Hunnam and Johnson be replaced with Matt Bomer (White Collar) and Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls). The news that Hunnam had pulled out caused petition organizers to rejoice:

I’M SO FREAKING OUT LIKE YOU GUYS I CANT BELIEVE THIS I’M SO HAPPY AND I DONT KNOW WHAT TO SAY IT’S LIKE A MIRACLE I DONT KNOW GUYS PLZ NOW MORE THAN EVER WE MUST JOIN FORCES UNTIL ARRIVE 100 K SIGNATURES WE WILL DO ALL THE POSSIBLE TO SEE MATT LIKE GREY DONT GIVE UPPPPPP XXXXX

Despite the current lack of a male lead, fans can anticipate seeing the film at a theatre near them late next summer.

News Reporter

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