'Fifty Shades of Grey' casting: Fans react with disappointment

After 'Fifty Shades of Grey' author E.L. James announced the casting of the leads for the 'Grey' film, some fans started a petition asking that the roles be recast.

L: Evan Agostini/AP R: Chris Pizzello/AP
'Fifty Shades of Grey' will star Charlie Hunnam (r.) and Dakota Johnson (l.).

The leads for the “Fifty Shades of Grey” film have been announced, but not everyone’s happy about them.

“Sons of Anarchy” actor Charlie Hunnam will portray the wealthy Christian Grey in the movie and actress Dakota Johnson, who starred on the Fox sitcom “Ben and Kate,” will play protagonist Anastasia Steele. The news was first announced on “Grey” author E.L. James’ Twitter page.

But some fans wanted others, such as “White Collar” actor Matt Bomer or “Gilmore Girls” actress Alexis Bledel, to take on the parts, and a petition has been launched on Change.org asking that the two take on the roles. More than 19,000 people have signed it so far. The document was created by a user named dontouchmypatch.

“Matt Bomer is the PERFECT DESCRIPTION OF CHRISTIAN GREY AND ALEXIS BLEDEL IS THE PERFECT ACTRESS TO REPRESENT ANASTASIA STEELE,” the user wrote on the petition. “And if THEY ARE NOT, NOBODY WILL BE.”

In addition, some Twitter users tweeted about the casting with the hashtags “NoBomerNoBledelNoMovie” and “NoMattNoAlexisNoMovie.”

Meanwhile, author Bret Easton Ellis added to the fuss by tweeting that he’d heard from James that “Twilight” actor Robert Pattinson was her top choice for the role of Christian. (“Grey” reportedly started life as a fan fiction piece about Stephenie Meyer’s characters.) 

“Talked to E.L. James at a party over the summer: her first choice for Christian was Rob Pattinson and Matt Bomer was never in the running,” he wrote.

Dana Brunetti, producer for the film, tweeted about the casting process in an attempt to appease fans.

“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.,” he wrote. “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.”

Later, Brunetti tweeted, “Thx to all the fans of @E_L_James FSOG for their overwhelming support of the casting choices. @MichaelDe_Luca &I can't wait to start filming.”

James didn’t comment directly on the furor, but after she announced the casting, she tweeted, “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.”

Casting choices for movies rarely please everyone, and Fandango.com contributing editor Erik Davis told USA Today the controversy reminded him of fans who became upset after the actors were announced for the movie “Twilight.”

“I was watching these people and many were rabidly against this," Davis said. "And then look what happened. Pattinson and Stewart turned into superstars. People forget that they didn't like the casting originally.”

“Nowhere Boy” director Sam Taylor-Johnson is directing the film and it’s set to be released in August 2014.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.