The moment most women have been waiting more than a year for has finally arrived and surprisingly they’re not too happy about it. Earlier this month, director Sam Taylor-Johnson announced that Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson nabbed the coveted roles of Christian grey and Anastasia Steele. Hunnam’s most recognized for his roles in FX’s Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim and Johnson is the daughter of Melanie Griffith. The fans have been very vocal in letting them know just how disappointed they are, some fans even starting a petition. Hunnam and Johnson beat out names like Ryan Gosling, Ian Somerholder, Shailene Woodley and Alexis Bledel for the coveted roles. To some it seems like these two came out of the woodwork.
Everyone has an opinion. When asked what she thought of the Fifty Shades casting, sophomore Anna Glazer said, “ Personally, I think there were so many better options. And I get that they were trying to pick “new actors” but they just did a poor job and I’m not satisfied.” Satisfaction is a big part of why the casting news has been met with so much adversity. The books, while having an extremely sexual nature are the product of passion. Author E.L James, wrote “Fifty Shades” in response to the “Twilight” Saga. Basing some elements of her story loosely off of Bella and Edward. James took to twitter in response to the backlash saying, “ To all the supporters, lovers, and haters thank you so much for the passion that you have for this project. You rock. All of you”.
“Fifty Shades” is not the first book turned film to receive such negativity in response to there casting choices. Looking back on the early “Twilight” days many were against Robert Pattinson playing Edward Cullen.
Often the problem with literature is that the reader’s imagination conjures up a face and an image for a character based on their description and once that is brought to film, the actor can become disappointing in comparison. Making it hard for anyone to ever be truly satisfied with the directors choices. Producer Dan Brunetti also responded to the backlash saying “ There is a lot that goes into casting that isn’t just looks. Talent, availability, their desire to do it, chemistry with other actors, etc.
In reality, actors do have to be willing. With the movie likely to receive an NC-17 rating, the actors have to be prepared to have everything on display. Following the announcement of his casting, Hunnam when questioned in an interview with the Guardian about his comfort with playing the part of Grey said “I starred in the British Channel Four miniseries Queer as Folk, where I played a young, gay character, and there were some incredible, explicit sex scenes on that show. … Now I am 16 years older and more mature so I don’t anticipate them being too much of a problem. It’s like anything else, just an exciting challenge.”
And with a film as graphic and passionate as “Fifty Shades,” chemistry is everything. Anyone can dye their hair or wear contacts to physically be more like the main characters, Christian and Ana, but if the actors lacked believable chemistry the movie adaptation would be finished before it started. Maybe if Hunnam and Johnson have undeniable chemistry there’s hope. When asked if chemistry or looks was more important, sophomore Katie Horan said, “I mean he’s no Christian Bale, but if he can at least act like Christen Grey