The official reason Hunnam gave for ditching Christian Grey was that the filming began too quickly after "Sons of Anarchy" filming wraps. But sources say the real issue was increasing conflict between Hunnam and the creative team and fan frenzy so intense several "Sons" events had to be canceled.
The particular actor, who has a screenwriting credit under his belt ("Vlad" for Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B), gave the team extremely detailed notes on the "Fifty Shades" script. And while the team liked his edits, Hunnam then sought further script approval. They turned him down.
Another source said Hunnam's heart "never was in the project," and that the actor, who was being paid a mere $125,000 for his work, left after Universal hired writer Patrick Marber to do a polish on the script.
With less than three weeks until filming was slated to begin on the naughty novel adaptation, the studio is scrambling to fill Hunnam's shoes. British television stars Jamie Dornan and Christian Cooke, as well as "True Blood" star Alexander Skarsgard, are reportedly on the shortlist being considered to replace him.