Fifty Shades Of Grey fans were landed with the disappointing news this weekend that Charlie Hunnam has pulled out of the most talked-about movie of the year.
The Sons Of Anarchy star, who was all set to play saucy CEO Christian Grey in the movie adaptation, has turned his back on the project, citing a hectic work schedule.
A joint statement released by Universal Pictures and Focus Features on Saturday read: '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 time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey.'
Producers had spoken of Charlie's 'incredible' chemistry with his co-star Dakota Johnson, who plays the timid, impressionable girlfriend, Anastasia Steele. They'll now have to swiftly find a replacement from the pool of stars originally in the running, as the movie is due for release in August 2014.
Shortly after the news broke, author E L James took to her personal Twitter feed to say: 'I wish Charlie all the best x'.
Sam Taylor-Johnson is directing the controversial movie. Will Matt Bomer, Cilian Murphy, Ian Somerhalder or Alexander Skarsgard replace Charlie? Watch this space...
By Rebecca Martin