LACMA Gala, Robert Pattinson

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If it were up to author E.L. James, a source tells E! News, Robert Pattinson would be playing the sexy lead in the film adaptation of her popular book triology, Fifty Shades of Grey.

Instead, the role of Christian Grey will be played by fellow Brit Charlie Hunnam, whose casting was announced via Twitter on Monday, September 2.

"E.L. and Rob have become really close," a source tells E! News of the author and the actor. "They have become very good friends." Indeed, in early June, the novelist was seen partying at Pattinson's home in L.A.'s Los Feliz neighborhood.

Author and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis previously tweeted that Pattinson was the writer's first pick. "Talked to E.L. James at a party over the summer: her first choice for Christian was Rob Pattinson," he wrote. "E.L. James and I were at Rob Pattinson's house when she admitted that Rob was first choice for Christian."

As Pattinson's fans are well aware, James' book series began as Twilight fan fiction before it was reworked to become an e-book. "She has always been obsessed with him," a source explains.

Another reason Pattinson didn't get the part? Producers didn't want to pay his high salary, according to the source.

In the end, James is "very happy" to have Hunnam sharing the screen with Dakota Johnson, who will play Anastacia Steele: "She is obsessed with Charlie's work!"

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