Studio Dealings

Why Did Charlie Hunnam Bail on the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Movie?

I can only assume the $125,000 he was going to be paid also played a part

charlie-hunnamThe Hollywood Reporter has written up a piece on the reasons Charlie Hunnam bailed on playing Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie adaptation. Among those include the script (which is now being rewritten by Patrick Marber) for which he apparently supplied "very detailed script notes" and that he began butting heads with the creative team, including director Sam Taylor-Johnson.

However, among all this the one item I can't seem to overlook is the idea he was only going to be paid $125,000 for his part in the film. Granted, Hunnam isn't a major movie star at the moment, but he is the star of FX's hit television show "Sons of Anarchy", a show that in 2011 reportedly carried "a budget of $2 million to $2.5 million per episode" according to the Los Angeles Times. I couldn't find specific details on Hunnam's contract, but to think he'd only be paid $125,000 for everything he'd have to put up with by participating in Fifty Shades seems ridiculous.

While the THR article makes no mention of it, I have to assume Hunnam was going to get some portion of the backend and had he decided to stick around and play the character for the sequels he would have commanded a much higher pay day. In this day and age, however, after seeing what actors such as Twilight performers Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have to go through to play these high-profile, yet throwaway roles, if I was a talent agent I'm not sure I could suggest my client say "yes" to any of these projects. It just doesn't seem worth it.

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  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

    Too bad no one gave EL James some very detailed script notes before she published these travesties.

    • Elle

      Amen!

    • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

      Ouch... I'm sure she is drying her tears with one hundred dollar bills. Travesties maybe. But the books have a huge fan base... So forget her for a minute, and think about the nation of people buying this stuff.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

        The books are more of a sympton of certain problems in society/relationships than the cause, I'll grant you that, but they're still a sum-negative.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    I haven't really been paying attention to this, but rumor has it there was a lot of backlash from fans about his casting.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Which is exactly why I don't understand why anyone would take the role, let alone for only $125,000. The so-called fans are not casting agents last I checked.

      • http://seikozoorhess.deviantart.net Paul Hennen

        All very true, but does anybody really want Ben Affleck in Man Of Steel 2 instead of a fourth Batman film starring Christian Bale?

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

          If the filmmakers actually have a good vision (not saying Snyder and co. do, but we can give them the benefit of the doubt) and Affleck fits into that vision, what fans think ahead of time doesn't matter.

      • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

        A lot of up-and-coming actors would. It's the chance to get your face out there, for better or worse. We're all with Charlie on this one, currently... But are these same reporters going to turn around and admit they were wrong if 50 Shades ends up being successful at the end of it all? Like everything else, it's a gamble. A calculated risk. We're just talking about it more because it's a part of pop culture and gotta get them clicks.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Roger/ Roger Judd

        No, but if fans aren't happy with the casting, particularly this fan base of mainly women, wouldn't that second-guess your choice as a producer of the film? Having the wrong guy cast is the difference between someone saying they will see it in theaters or rent it on blu-ray.

        I think it's because the response was too negative, they ended this amicably. They say it had scheduling conflict with Sons of Anarchy, yet season 6 wraps October 22 and production begins in November.

        • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

          I don't know... Valid point. But I'd point you to many instances where fans were up in arms about casting choices and their distaste for them, producers stuck it out, and the film was still profitable. TDK and ledger is the obvious one, but there are many other cases. Fans are fickle about anything and everything these days.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Roger/ Roger Judd

            In this case though I think the audience has a much more powerful influence. This will mainly be women who see this in large groups. If they don't find this lead male hot, what's the point in going?

            On the other hand, everyone was going to see The Dark Knight, no matter how bad some people poo-pooed the casting choice, you know what I mean?

            I also don't know if there's enough steam left for this franchise to crank out 3 movies in the next 4-5 years if they're lucky. Seems like the hype will only fade with time.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/lalecture/ lalecture

              Touche Roger! Charlie is definitely not "hot" enough to hold my attention! Give me some Alexander Skarsgard to look at and I'll forget about whether or not the script sucks!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/GuyInMilwaukee/ David Maloney

    That's one smart move on Charlie's part. That role has got to go to a no-name or it's a career killer... or to someone like Robert Pattinson whose career is already in the dump.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/maja/ maja

    The $125k payment isn't all that surprising and is actually a very frequent thing to occur on potential new franchise starters. I'm sure that Hunnam had a substantial back end payment put into his contract. Hell, a similar deal was agreed very recently with Jim Carrey on Kick Ass 2 where he was paid practically nothing besides the backends (which ended up being practically nothing). I don't think that this was a major factor as to why he bailed but I'm sure it's something that didn't stop him from bailing too.

    He agreed to the deal initially..I'm sure a major part of that is for his profile - to get his name out there and he managed to do that without all the controversy of the film.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

      I read that Chris Pine got less than $400k for the first Star Trek but would get xmillions for the sequels. Makes good business sense.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/lalecture/ lalecture

      In reference to the comment on low pay for potential franchise starters, Jennifer Lawrence received only $500k for Hunger Games. I cant imagine what her back end must have been. Her reported pay for Catching Fire is 10 million!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Torryz/ Torryz

    In a case where you know there are going to be sequels, taking less on the first movie isn't bad if you don't have a track record. I think talent agents would want their client to say yes to this because they get a percentage of the pay and they would probably make bank on the sequels.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/kathrynlynn/ kathrynlynn

    I really don't understand how anyone can take a high profile role now a days. We don't even allow actors to work anymore before judging them. Too much pressure on a personal life to take on something of this magnitude.

  • http://timeforafilm.com Alex Thomas

    Hopped on Dornan at $34 odds. Into $3.50 at most sites!! #FingersCrossed