By Steven Zeitchik
Los Angeles Times (MCT)
A long film resume is not a requirement to play the part of Christian Grey in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” but a scruffy blond beard might be. The Irish-born actor Jamie Dornan, like departed star Charlie Hunnam the owner of that aforementioned hirsute flourish, has been cast as the male lead in the adaptation of E.L. James’ bestseller.
Variety first reported the news Wednesday evening.
Dornan, 31, has some screen credits to his name, most notably as Sheriff Graham Humbert in the prime-time ABC fairy-tale series “Once Upon a Time.” He also had a bit part in Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette.” Fans wondering about his marital status will quickly be jealous of English musician Amelia Warner, whom Dornan recently married.
The casting of Dornan -- who will play opposite Dakota Johnson’s lead female character -- comes shortly after Hunnam departed the Christian Grey role. Producers and Universal Pictures / Focus Features have been keen to replace him quickly to make a November production start date and an August release.
Earlier in the week producer Mike De Luca told The Times’ Amy Kaufman that he believed a relative newbie was called for in the part.
“I feel like everyone has an idea of what these characters look like and sound like, so to present the world with fresh faces -- where no pre-conceived notions or baggage come with it -- is best,” he said. “It’s like casting Superman or James Bond. A fresh face is appropriate.”