I doubt very much that Charlie Hunnam wouldn’t have read a draft of the 50 Shades of Grey screenplay before signing up, surely must have met with director Sam Taylor-Johnson, and there’s no way he wouldn’t have known about the absurd gossip rag attentions it would bring, so I do wonder what has motivated his decision to pull out.
Here’s an official statement from Universal, which does give a specific reason you may or may not wish to believe:
The filmmakers of Fifty Shades of Grey and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam’s immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey.
Production on the film is slated to start rather soon. The filmmakers will have to get their skates on.
Hunnam is still set for Guillermo Del Toro‘s Crimson Peak, on the calendar for early next year. That’s more like it.