Fifty Shades of Grey is the first installment of a bestselling erotic trilogy by British author E. L. James. It started as Twilight fan fiction before morphing into a story about a young billionaire entrepreneur, Christian Grey, who embarks on a BDSM relationship with an innocent college senior, Anastasia Steele.
An NC-17 movie adaptation — directed by Sam Taylor-Wood and penned by screenwriter Kelly Marcel — is currently in the works. The two major roles have been cast: Dakota Johnson will be playing Fifty Shades of Grey leading lady Anastasia Steele, while Christian Grey will be played by Charlie Hunnam. Ben & Kate fans will recognize her from that short-lived show, and Charlie is best known as Jax from Sons of Anarchy. Dakota, 23, is the daughter of celebs Don Johnson (Miami Vice) and Melanie Griffith (Working Girl). At 33, Charlie has a decade on her, which is pretty close to the age gap between Anastasia and Christian in the books.
Before the lead actors were named, fans hotly debated their dream picks for the parts. Favorites for the role of Christian included Ian Somerhalder, Matt Bomer, Henry Cavill, and Alexander Skarsgard, and among the many actresses suggested as possible Anastasias were Lucy Hale, Alexis Bledel, and Amanda Seyfried. Ian and Lucy dominated our “Who Should Play Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey?” poll.
Rumors were circulating that the cast would be revealed at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, but E.L. James took to Twitter to discredit those claims as false. Reports also circulated early this year that Alex Pettyfer was locked for the part of Christian Grey, but that turned out to be false.
Fans have also been adamant that Alexis Bledel be cast as Anastasia Steele, creating a fan trailer for her in the role.
Supporting characters like Kate Kavanagh, Elliot Grey, and José Rodriguez have inspired similar dream-casting debates, with leading contenders being Blake Lively or Amber Heard for Kate, Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey or Vampire Diaries actor Michael Trevino for José, and Alex Pettyfer for Elliot.
Despite the few details about the actual adaptation, Fifty Shades fan can take solace in knowing the project already has an official release date: August 1, 2014.