A high-profile movie project that has been described as "mommy porn" has found its male lead. Variety reports that the Universal and Focus movie adaptation of "Fifty Shades of Grey" cast Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan in the role.
Dornan, who will play Christian Grey in the movie, replaces "Sons of Anarchy" star Charlie Hunnam, who had the part locked up before dropping out, as we reported earlier this month.
"Dornan plays Sheriff Graham Humbert in ABC series ‘Once Upon a Time’; he’s also played a serial killer in BBC Two crime drama ‘The Fall,’ and he appeared in Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette,’" Variety reports. "The 31-year-old thesp performs in an Irish folk duo and has modeled for Calvin Klein, Christian Dior and Armani. His modeling experience may be useful, as the part will require him to act in explicitly sexual scenes."
Sam Taylor-Johnson is signed to direct, with Dakota Johnson co-starring as Anastasia Steele.
The Variety report notes: "The project was hit with a huge curveball when Hunnam departed after being attached for just a month. Universal said Hunnam’s exit was due to scheduling issues with ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and upcoming movie ‘Crimson Peak,’ but some sources said battles over a rewrite and the actor’s doubts about the role may have played a part in his decision."
The executives behind the feature reportedly brought in Dornan and actor Billy Magnussen for a test with Johnson on Friday. "Though the studio considered bringing in more actors to test, as of Wednesday morning sources said no one else had been brought in," Variety reports. "Universal will now work quickly to land thesps for the remaining supporting roles that include Steele’s roommate Kate, a role for which [Universal] had already been testing actresses prior to Hunnam’s exit."
The movie is scheduled to hit theaters Aug. 1, 2014, the report notes.