After it was announced that the best-selling erotic romance novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” would be recreated as a movie, devoted fans around the world (including myself) anxiously awaited the grand reveal of who would play the iconic role of main character Christian Grey.
Our suspicions were put to rest via Twitter from “Fifty Shades of Grey” author E.L. James herself Sept. 2. Charlie Hunnam, the bulky hunk from “Sons of Anarchy,” would assume the high-profile role.
Fifty shades of chaotic reactions followed. But just as the media and fans alike began to accept the casting decision, Universal Pictures and Focus Features dropped a bombshell on us last weekend: Hunnam is out, and the role of Grey is, once again, up for grabs.
Apparently Hunnam’s demanding TV schedule did not give him enough time to adequately prepare for the role, and whether or not that is the truth really doesn’t matter.
What does matter is the Grey casting pool is open again, creating a whirlwind of emotions for those of us who have just recently come to terms with the initial decision.
Opinions are flying. Who should replace Hunnam as Christian Grey?
It would be easy to go back to some of the original rumored and fan-favored actors like Matt Bomer (“Chuck,” “White Collar”), Ryan Gosling, Channing Tatum or even Robert Pattinson.
But I think we should take a step back and consider some of the less obvious candidates. I believe we should sincerely contemplate awarding the role to a not-so-famous, fresh actor, whose performance as Grey could potentially launch them to super-stardom.
If the decision were entirely up to me, I would confidently cast Aaron Taylor-Johnson, the English actor who’s had some relatively major roles in some relatively minor films like “Savages,” “Kick-Ass” and “Anna Karenina.”
Grey is described in the novel to be in his late 20s yet surprisingly youthful, breathtakingly beautiful and enticingly mysterious.
When Taylor-Johnson rocks his shorter, slicked-back hairstyle and his signature closed mouth, smirking smile, those big, electrifying gray eyes become hypnotizing. Just like that, we’re hooked.
Whether the 23-year-old actor could handle the raunchy love scenes with Dakota Johnson, the actress cast to play innocent and inexperienced college student Anastasia Steele, is hardly questionable.
If you haven’t seen Taylor-Johnson’s performance in “Savages,” his steamy love scenes with co-star Blake Lively prove he isn’t afraid to reveal his chiseled body while getting down and dirty on camera, which would be absolutely required of him in “Fifty Shades.”
He also has shown us his less intense, passionately romantic side in “Anna Karenina,” in which Taylor-Johnson played Count Vronsky, a Russian military man from the 1800s who sweeps a married mother, played by Keira Knightley, off her feet to engage in a risky affair.
Beyond the lovemaking scenes, Taylor-Johnson would have to master Grey’s charming, business-savvy personality which he presents to the world, meanwhile convincing viewers Grey’s abusive childhood traumas have caused him to possess and engage in dark and erotic fantasies.
Taylor-Johnson has proved his ability to embrace his character to the fullest potential in many of his movies, most notably in my opinion, in “Savages,” in which Taylor-Johnson played Ben, a peaceful drug dealer who gets caught up with the Mexican drug cartel. We watched Taylor-Johnson’s character acutely transform from a loving, nonviolent young man to a manipulating, murdering monster, all the while convincing us he was still good at heart. His performance was magnetizing.
So, if I had the last say, I would give Taylor-Johnson the chance to explore the depths of his acting abilities that fully embracing Grey would require.
If he were to succeed, which I believe he undoubtedly would, I think the young actor would receive an undeniable invitation to the A-list.
But the decision is unfortunately not in my hands. Once again, we shall eagerly await the second announcement of Grey’s identity.
We can only hope that this decision will be absolutely final, which would finally bring us closer to witnessing how the scandalous, boundary-breaking novel comes alive on the big screen.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is scheduled to premiere in 2014.