Fifty Shades of Grey Casting: Fifty Shades of Disappointment


After over a year of countless suggestions, passionate debates and nonstop speculation, the Fifty Shades of Grey leads have finally been cast. While many are breathing a sigh of relief that the wait is over, I’m in a state of disbelief and horror. When I first heard this morning that Melanie Griffith’s daughter, Dakota Johnson, had been cast in the movie, I immediately thought, “Aw how sweet, she’s playing Anastasia’s roommate. That should get her some exposure!” But then I saw this tweet.

So Johnson (who’s pretty, don’t get me wrong) is playing the Bella Swan from a parallel universe, whose natural, unassuming beauty is so blinding she gets a billionaire playboy with a certifiable sex addiction to fall in love with her. I could see this working if it were a made-for-TV adaptation, like LeAnn Rimes in Northern Lights — in fact, if there were a made-for-TV spectrum, Rimes would be a solid 3 and Johnson would be falling off of the other end. She would be stunning on that level. But we’re talking about one of the most lucrative roles for a young starlet, one that could either make or break her career. What happened to the Alexis Bledels and the Emma Watsons, whose ethereal pixie-like beauty would have spawned the movie’s own version of Twihards, the way that the combination of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart did. Dakota Johnson, on the other hand, has that Greta Gerwig quality that reminds you of your upstairs neighbor, who you really want to go vintage shopping with. In other words, not Twihard material.


And then more reports flooded in. Christian Grey was cast. My heart stopped. My beloved Jax Teller, the guy who I associate with slamming hookers’ faces into tables and leveling Danny Trejo with his eyes, is playing Christian Grey. . . . Was Pacific Rim not enough? You had an unexpected hit, you’re forever in Guillermo Del Toro’s circle, your career as an action star was launched, but now you’re just being greedy. And stupid. Yes, you’re going to blow up to Robert Pattinson proportions, and yes, you will be inundated with scripts for years to come, but you have just lost at least one true fan. I will still watch the rest of Sons of Anarchy (obviously) and whatever else you’re in, but I will protest you as Christian Grey, and I will protest it hard. You’re much, much, much better than that. And if you happen to come out and admit that, like me, you tried reading the book and couldn’t get past the tenth reference of Anastasia’s “inner goddess,” I will not judge you.

My personal feelings aside, I don’t think Hunnam is physically right for the role either. Was E L James drunk when she approved of these choices? Did she forget what her characters look like? Was she also unable to finish reading her own book? From what I did read, I pictured Christian Grey as all angles, dark hair, and piercing, deep-set eyes. In fact, I pictured Patrick Bateman the entire time I was reading it, which helped make the story tolerable. But in reality, the role should have gone to Ian Somerhalder (a fan favorite) or Matt Bomer, or even Fifty Shades director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s real-life Christian Grey, Aaron Johnson (I bet they do some kinky shit). Charlie Hunnam is at his best when he’s scruffy, angry and doing that swagger walk that he does so well, not with slicked-back hair and wearing a suit. I guess his ability to convey “I will kill you if you talk about my wife like that again” with his eyes will work in his favor as a sadomasochist, but the rest remains to be seen.


At the end of the day, I’m thankful that I have a year to get over my shock and decide whether or not I will go see this Fifty Shades of Grey thing.

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