When Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam left the 50 Shades of Grey movie, the noisy fans complaining about his casting rejoiced. Last night they got a new Christian Grey in Jamie Dornan, are they finally happy?
The outrage over Hunnam was a particularly nasty example of how the Internet makes fans think they are casting experts, and the heated reaction may have been one of the reasons Hunnam dropped out, considering Universal gave him extra security to protect him at one point. When he did in fact leave the project one fan wrote on a Change.org petition backing Matt Bomer for the role: "I'M SO FREAKING OUT LIKE YOU GUYS I CANT BELIEVE THIS I'M SO HAPPY AND I DONT KNOW WHAT TO SAY IT'S LIKE A MIRACLE."
But now, in a scramble to get the project off the ground, Justin Kroll of Variety reported last night that Universal chose Northern Irish heartthrob Jamie Dornan for the part. Now, obviously, Dornan wasn't a widely boosted name. Many were set on Bomer, who plays a con-man on USA's White Collar, but the reaction to Dornan—so far—has been much less impassioned than it was to Hunnam. Reacting to the Dornan news on a Facebook page that had been backing Bomer, commenters wrote things like, "He's no Matt Bomer, but he's pretty sexy! I think I see some CG in him," and "Way better then Charlie. Still not Matt Bomer but way more excited to see the movie now." Others on Twitter were more disappointed, writing along the lines of: "*Sigh* Why can't the producers open their wallets for Matt Bomer and @iansomerhalder to cast as Christian Grey?" On the bright side, though, no one has started any petitions to replace Dornan on Change.org—yet.
Of course, there are multiple reasons why Dornan hasn't (again: yet, it's still early) inspired the same amount of hate as Hunnam did. For one, he's more conventionally attractive than Hunnam, who wears a scraggly beard for his role on Sons of Anarchy. You know, like conventionally attractive in that underwear model-y way. Studio execs decided once Hunnam left to give the role to more of a newcomer, according to Kroll, meaning that fans don't really have many preconceived notions of Dornan, who has had roles on Once Upon a Time and in the British serial killer drama The Fall. And, finally, perhaps fans just know they've been defeated.
Dornan will be a fine Christian Grey. These fans, no matter how angry, will probably go see the movie, and they may even fall in love with him.