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Alexis Bledel, Matt Bomer on long list of stars almost cast in '50 Shades'

Alexis Bledel and Matt Bomer may have been the crowd favorites to play Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, but the producers had quite a few others in mind.
Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Sept. 5, 2013 at 9:52 AM   |   Comments

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Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Given the astronomical popularity of the novel, it was no surprise fans of E.L. James's boudoir bestseller had mixed reactions to the casting of two almost unknown stars as the leads of "Fifty Shades of Grey."

"Sons of Anarchy" star Charlie Hunnam snagged the role of billionaire Christian Grey, while Dakota Johnson, best known for the short-lived but much-loved "Ben and Kate," will play the naïve Anastasia Steele.

And while a petition on Change.org insisting on the re-casting of Matt Bomer and Alexis Bledel as the film's twisted couple has already gathered nearly 50,000 signatures, theirs were hardly the only names in the mix.

In fact, sources say the studio explored a number of options before signing on Hunnam and Johnson.

The Internet's favorite leading man Ryan Gosling was apparently the first choice to play the bad boy businessman.

Universal went after Garrett Hedlund for the role, but the "Tron: Legacy" star said no in July, saying he couldn't connect with the character, and British actor Christian Cooke was also considered.

Ultimately, even Hunnam had to be convinced. A meeting with director Sam Taylor-Wood and producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti on August 23 led to a chemistry read with Johnson the next week, and the deal was done.

Johnson, meanwhile, had apparently locked up the role after gaining the support of Taylor-Wood.

But before finding Johnson, the studio considered "Like Crazy" actress Felicity Jones, who reportedly objected to doing full-frontal nudity for the role.

Shailene Woodley was also heavily considered, with backing from James, but eventually had to pass as the shooting schedule conflicted with her press obligations for the upcoming "Divergent."

And as for fan favorites Bomer and Bledel -- well, they may never have been on the radar.

There is a lot that goes into casting that isn't just looks. Talent, availability, their desire to do it, chemistry with other actor, etc," producer Brunetti tweeted after the casting announcement generated disappointment. "So if your favorite wasn't cast, then it is most likely due to something on that list. Keep that in mind while hating and keep perspective."

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