Charlie Hunnam to play Christian Grey. Why?

Women all over the world had a meltdown on Tuesday.

They've had their fantasy ripped apart, thanks to the shocking news that the role of the dark, handsome, mysterious and BDSM-loving Christian Grey in the much-anticipated movie adaptation of the best-selling erotic thriller Fifty Shades of Grey has gone to long-haired, bearded and redneck-looking UK actor Charlie Hunnam.

A collective "What?!" rang across the Internet - and this newsroom.

"That's so wrong!" tweeted one fan, who compared the casting to the mostly criticised recent decision to cast Ben Affleck as Batman. Another one added: "Are you kidding me... Christian is the most gorgeous man alive. Charlie has no sex appeal... he is ugly with a fat face."

When it was announced last year that a movie was going to be made of author E L James' book - the fastest-selling paperback of all time, by the way, ahead of the Harry Potter books - everyone, fan or not, had fun playing the guessing game.

The director (UK film-maker Sam Taylor- Johnson) and opening date (August 2014) soon fell into place.

But whoever got the role would, by extension, become Hollywood's hottest man.

I say this because even though I couldn't bring myself to get through the first book - it's poorly-written erotica really, with a very annoying female protagonist - it's been impressed upon me that Christian Grey is perfect. Um, wait... isn't he evil or something?

Doesn't he get some girl to sign a contract so he can do kinky things to her? All because he's got some childhood/mummy issues to get through? Has he not heard of therapy?

Anyway, he's got "smouldering grey eyes", is a billionaire (you know us women like them stacks of cash!), intelligent (dropped out of Harvard), complicated (refer to childhood issues), sexy and any woman would be more than happy to drop her knickers for him.

Now, who could possibly be all this and more for each and every sighing Fifty Shades fan girl and woman (70 million and counting, according to the most recent sales figures available)?

Let's see: Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Alexander Skarsgard ... goodness, I'd even settle for Twilight's Robert Pattinson, who I begrudgingly admit would have been a good choice considering the book was born out of Twilight fan fiction.

Certainly not 33-year-old Charlie "um, who is he?" Hunnam, who I couldn't even recognise in the recent monsters-versus-robots movie Pacific Rim because he'd shaved off his beard.

To be fair, Hunnam has his own gruff appeal, thanks to his role as a motorcycle gang leader in TV series Sons of Anarchy and author James gave her stamp of approval, calling him "gorgeous and talented".

But Hunnam, honestly, is one of Hollywood's many Chris Hemsworth lookalikes, all light hair and big bodies.

It's a big gamble for movie execs to hope that an average Joe minor celebrity will be able to carry a movie that fans need to love and non-fans need to not hate.


I mean, if you need me to buy into this whole "I could fall for a guy who likes to wield a whip" idea, at least give me a stunning face to look at and proven depth as an actor.

Most guys, on the other hand, seem to be blase about the whole casting controversy. Their burning question - who's the hot girl?

- has been answered by the casting of Dakota Johnson, the 23-year-old daughter of Hollywood actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, who will be playing young naivete Anastasia Steele who signs the contract with Grey and then turns her bad boy good.

"Anyone can play the guy," said a male colleague. His theory goes that women will go gaga for anyone in a lead role, especially if they're already fans of the story.

I was about to protest until I realised that the sisterhood of celebrity crushes has proven capable of dedicating themselves to the weirdest, wimpiest-looking stars - Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Pegg, three quarters of The Wanted.

Okay, maybe I should get off my soap box. I like Shia LaBeouf.

The stars who could have played.

Henry Cavill, 30
Totally fits the mould and gives off an unnerving effect that will keep women on their toes.

Alex Pettyfer, 23
Too young to pass off as 28-year-old Grey - and handle those "silver ball" sex toys.

Ian Somerhalder, 34
The height is the problem - Grey needs to be taller than 1.77m

Alexander Skarsgard, 37
At certain angles, possibly. But that's too much of a risk - even for the intense TV vampire.

Matt Bomer, 35
Pretty perfect too, but the gay vibes come across too strong.

Armie Hammer, 27
His smile makes him way too sweet for the 'Red Room of Pain'.

Ryan Gosling, 32
Fine body and fully capable of eroticism, but he's missing the chiselled jawline.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, 23
A bit odd, considering his wife is directing the movie.

Michael Fassbender, 36
He can do nudity and sex in his sleep, but appears a little too mature.

Robert Pattinson, 27
The image of the Twilight star sparkling in daylight hasn't quite worn off yet. Also, too scrawny!

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