The new Christian Grey

HOLLYWOOD - Irish hunk Jamie Dornan has been picked to replace Charlie Hunnam as male lead Christian Grey in the movie version of Fifty Shades Of Grey, said several news outlets including The Hollywood Reporter.

Negotiations are underway.

Dornan, 31, former boyfriend of Keira Knightley, is to play kinky billionaire Grey opposite Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele.

Hunnam, 33, withdrew from the movie more than a week ago, citing scheduling conflict. But the Hollywood Reporter had said he was uncomfortable with the frenzy surrounding the project. Universal Pictures was forced to hire bodyguards for him at a premiere, and two appearances to promote the show were cancelled.

The movie has a Aug 1, 2014, release date.

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