The Fifty Shades of Grey movie appears to be in turmoil. With now just 17 days until the first day of filming in Vancouver, the project - headed by Sam Taylor-Johnson - is without a leading man after Charlie Hunnam dropped out, citing a packed schedule.

Of course, Hunnam and his agent will have known his commitments to Sons of Anarchy when initially taking the part, therefore reports the actor got cold feet are probably not too far off the mark.

Hunnam was set to play the young, rich businessman Christian Grey in the big screen adaptation of E.L. James 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' which will undoubtedly contain the explicit sex scenes featured in the controversial novel.

Fans of the book were aghast at the casting of Hunnam as Grey and less than impressed with the relative newcomer Dakota Johnson taking the role of Anastasia Steele ahead of Alexis Bledel.

Though rumors of Johnson's status in the movie begin to swirl, producers are frantically looking to cast a new Mr Grey, with the Hollywood Reporter picking out 31-year-old Irish actor Jamie Dornan as a potential candidate. 

Dornan is probably best known for starring in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette and the TV series Once Upon a Time, though British audiences will recognise him from BBC's The Fall. The acclaimed series starring Gillian Anderson as a Detective Superintendent investigating a serial killer who is terrorising Belfast. Paul Spector, played by Dornan, had a wife and two children who are unaware of his activities and also worked as a bereavement counsellor.

The Irish actor and model clearly has the rugged good looks that could work on-screen, though it will undoubtedly be his portrayal of a relentless predator - often with sexual motives - in The Fall that has in drawn Fifty Shades producers. 

The Hollywood Reporter have it on good authority that Dornan is amongst the favourite for the role, though True Blood's Alexander Skarsgard is also being considered. Far more established than Dornan, the Swedish actor appears to match Grey's physical description, though there are doubts of his ability to convey the billionaire's creepy obsession. 

Christian Cooke and Theo James were on the original list of potential Christian Greys and are in the running for the second time, though Garrett Hedlund - who was informally offered the part the first time round - is busy with Angelina Jolie's Unbroken. 

Meanwhile, Universal/Focus have hired Oscar-nominated writer Patrick Marber (Notes on a Scandal) to polish the Fifty Shades of Grey script while Hunnam's replacement is found. Speculation has swirled that the script penned by Kelly Marcel - a surprise choice of screenwriter - was the reason that Hunnam left the project.

Fifty Shades of Grey is still due for release in August 2014.

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