There are a lot of theories abounding regarding Charlie Hunnam’s abrupt Fifty Shades movie exit. The official line is: he can’t find the time in his schedule to properly prepare for the role. The unofficial one is: the angry fans intimidated him and he jumped ship.

Charlie HunnamCharlie Hunnam in a big fat motorbike

We’ve got a sneaky suspicion that neither of the aforementioned ‘reasons’ are true, and that Hunnam – who can’t claim to be attached to many critically acclaimed projects – realised just how bad the movie version of the steamy book will be, and decided it wasn’t for him.

“The filmmakers of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam’s immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey,” Universal Pictures announced on October 12.

That kind of stinks, though; Hunnam’s schedule would have been decided way in advance, and his agent would have known the calendar issues – if they’d existed – when he took on the role. No: either he didn’t want a legion of delusional fans wishing him away from the film, or he came to his senses.

Actually, either way, he came to his senses. "There are so many fans of that book and I know that on the surface, I’m probably not what everybody imagined," the actor told Entertainment Weekly. "Because reading is so personal and people bring a character to life in their imagination, they feel ownership over that character.

“That’s daunting if I allowed myself to think about it too much. I’m taking it very seriously and intend to explore the nature of who this character is, what motivates him — and also dress up nice and look good in those suits."

EL James
E.L James was responsible for s social phenomenon

Of course, it might not be rubbish. Sam Taylor-Wood is directing, and her film, Nowhere Boy, which chartered John Lennon’s life from childhood to worldwide fame, was somewhat of a critical hit, with a 79% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

But with E.L James - who authored the cheap excuse for a piece of literary fiction on board as a writer - the likely outcome will be an empty film, devoid of any real feeling.

The whole thing whiffs of dollar signs.