The Independent - The casting process was subject to frenzied speculation and some incredibly wishful thinking by Ryan Gosling fans, but the film-makers always planned to pick two relative unknowns. Dakota Johnson – daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith – aced her audition with a monologue from Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 movie Persona. And after Taylor-Johnson had seen “hundreds of devastatingly handsome men”, the title role eventually went to British actor Charlie Hunnam.
Weeks later, however, Hunnam pulled out, saying the shoot would come too hot on the heels of his TV drama, Sons of Anarchy, for him to comfortably segue into Christian Grey. “50’s going to be massive,” he told US Weekly. “I really didn’t want to fail on such a grand scale.
For Taylor-Johnson, the news came as a blow. “Charlie and I were working really well together,” she says. “But signing up for one film is very different from signing up for a trilogy. As the process got bigger, I started to sense his fear. On the day he called me to say that he just couldn’t do it, I knew it was coming, but it was very sad. But then, I truly believe Jamie was meant to be Christian Grey – so, things work out for a reason.”
Casting Christian was not simply a case of finding a suitable actor, she adds, but someone “who could carry the weight of what would come next... Jamie has so much humour, and nothing seems to bother him or penetrate his psyche too deeply. He seems to take everything and roll with it – so to speak.” She chuckles, and then checks herself: “When you make a film like this, everything becomes a double entendre.”