The “Fifty Shades of Grey” saga would have looked very different if Charlie Hunnam was cast as sexy BDSM maniac Christian Grey.
The “Belfast” actor, 39, told British GQ that he was “relieved” when Hunnam, 41, was initially cast in the erotic drama since he was hesitant to jump right into the series.
“I was very reluctant,” the Irish actor said. “I still remain reluctant. I didn’t say no. I auditioned for it and then went down the path of that and then someone else got it.”
“I was like, ‘F – – k, that’s great, what a nightmare for that guy [Hunnam]. He’s going to have all this scrutiny. Before anyone’s heard him do anything, he’s gonna be really hated.’ And so many people rage against the casting of it alone,” Dornan continued.
“Anyway, he dropped it and then I filled in and felt that wrath of hatred.”
Dornan also said he knows “Fifty Shades” will follow him forever, no matter what roles he takes on.
“The press is always, ‘It’s the best thing he’s done since “Fifty Shades.” ‘ As if I am still needing to prove myself; I am still paying penance for that choice to get me back to where I was beforehand,” he told British GQ. “Look, I get it, and, to be honest with you, it spurs me on. It lights a fire in me. If that means people saying, ‘Oh, actually he’s not that bad,’ well, so be it.”
In response to the backlash that the film series received, Dornan, a former model, explained, “There’s nothing like ‘Fifty Shades’ in terms of, it was based on books and we were staying very close to these books. These books were loved by fandom. Really loved, obsessively loved, and despised by every critic unless you’re like some online bloggy critic. Real critics hated the books.”
“You know that you’re going to have these movies that are for the fans, that the fans are going to love, that are gonna make a ton of money,” Dornan said. “But you know that the critics will be just, you know, licking their lips and that’s exactly what happened. And we knew that was going to happen so you’re watching that play out and at times that’s
f – – king difficult.”
Hunnam, the “Sons of Anarchy” star, dropped out of the picture in 2013 shortly after his casting news was announced. His unexpected departure puzzled fans, with many wondering why he decided to leave.
In 2015, Hunnam told V Man magazine that he left the project due to scheduling conflicts. “Oh, it was the worst professional experience of my life. It was the most emotionally destructive and difficult thing that I’ve ever had to deal with professionally,” he said in the interview. “It was heartbreaking.”
He added that he personally called “Fifty Shades” director Sam Taylor-Johnson to tell her he was out.
“I called her and we both cried our eyes out on the phone for 20 minutes,” the “Crimson Peak” star said. “I needed to tell her that this was not going to work. There was a lot of personal stuff going on in my life that left me on real emotional shaky ground and mentally weak. I just got myself so f – – king overwhelmed and I was sort of having panic attacks about the whole thing.”
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