Charlie Hunnam has pulled out of the film adaptation of bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey.
It was announced in September that Charlie Hunnam would play billionaire Christian Grey.
Universal Pictures said that his departure was a mutual decision due to a scheduling problem with Charlie Hunnam’s TV commitments.
Fifty Shades of Grey‘s author E.L. James tweeted her best wishes to the actor.
Artist and film-maker Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct the movie version of E.L. James’ novel, scheduled for release in August 2014.
Published in 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey follows the relationship between billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele.
Dakota Johnson will play Anastasia Steele and Jennifer Ehle has been cast as her mother.
The novel and its two sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, have become a literary phenomenon that earned E.L. James, 50, a reported $95 million last year.
There had been intense speculation over who would win the coveted lead roles in the film adaptation.
Since winning the role there have been reports that Charlie Hunnam had been overwhelmed by the attention and had got cold feet.
However, the statement from Universal Pictures said Charlie Hunnam’s departure was due to “Hunnam’s immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey.”
Matt Bomer, Cilian Murphy, Ian Somerhalder and Alexander Skarsgard are among the actors being tipped as Charlie Hunnam’s replacement.