Courtesy of Frank Micelotta/Invision for FX/AP Images
Charlie Hunnam will not be playing the coveted role of S&M fetishist Christian Grey in the film adaptation of E.L. James' erotica novel trilogy Fifty Shades Of Grey.
"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," Universal Pictures and Focus Features said in a joint statement obtained by E! News (Deadline first broke the story).
A source tells E! News since this decision just happened, "they don't have a handle on casting or production details."
"I wish Charlie all the best. x," James tweeted shortly after the news broke.
E! News has learned that the Sons of Anarchy star was shooting the finale for the hit FX series last week and it will continue this upcoming week.
Hunnam was set to star alongside Dakota Johnson and filming was scheduled to reportedly begin November 5 in Vancouver.
"The gorgeous and talented Charlie Hunnam will be Christian Grey in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey," James tweeted when she made the casting announcement on Sept. 2.
Right after he landed the role, the hunky star told E! News he felt extremely fortunate to bring such a popular character to life and looks forward to taking on the challenge.
"It's incredibly exciting. He's a very complex and fascinating character and I just feel really excited and delighted to be entrusted with the job of bringing him to life and its a big responsibility," he said at at the Sons of Anarchy premiere party on Sept. 7.
And when asked about scenes that would require nudity, S&M and sex, Hunnam just flashed that amazing smile of his and said, "I spent a lifetime preparing myself for that."
Fifty Shades is scheduled to hit theaters in North America Friday, August 1, 2014, with opening dates around the world to be revealed at later times.
Who do you think should play Christian Grey?
(E! and Universal Pictures are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)