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'Fifty Shades' casting prompts fan protest

September 03, 2013|By Nicole Sperling
  • Actor Charlie Hunnam, shown arriving at the premiere of "Pacific Rim," has been cast as Christian Grey in the upcoming film "Fifty Shades of Grey." His casting is being protested by some fans of the racy novel.
Actor Charlie Hunnam, shown arriving at the premiere of "Pacific… (Frazer Harrison / Getty…)

When the developers of began their petition-generating website, was their intended target Hollywood?

The website, which counts Amnesty International and the Humane Society as its higher-profile customers, has seen its users in the last two weeks protest Hollywood's casting decisions with great force.

First, close to 3,000 people disputed Warner Bros. executives' decision to hire Ben Affleck as the new Batman for the upcoming "Man of Steel" sequel.

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Now, users are back to protest the casting of Charlie Hunnam ("Sons of Anarchy") and Dakota Johnson ("Ben and Kate") as the leads in the upcoming adaptation of E.L. James' worldwide bestselling novel "Fifty Shades of Grey."

In less than 24 hours, more than 10,000 users have signed a petition that argues that actors Matthew Bomer and Alexis Bledel are better suited for the roles than the two the studio has hired. 

There is little chance that these signatures will alter any casting decisions on the  project, which is set to begin filming this fall, with a release date set for Aug. 1, 2014.

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Hunnam's and Johnson's deals are already set but Bomer and Bledel never engaged in any real discussions for the roles. And they aren't going to start now. Bomer has been hard at work on his USA series "White Collar," while Bledel was unavailable for the part due to her role in the upcoming Fox TV series "Us and Them."

Fans will have more luck protesting with their wallets when the film comes out next summer, but by then Universal Pictures will have unleashed its full marketing forces on the film, to be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. And that will surely be harder to resist.


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