Charlie Hunnam backing out of playing 'Christian Grey' in the film adaptation of '50 Shades of Grey' has left fans waiting in anticipation for the new male lead to be announced.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal Pictures and Focus Features have a number of targets in mind, with British TV star/model Jamie Dornan been the favourite.

The article reported that the films production team, including director Sam Taylor-Johnson, have drafted a list of four men they desire to try-out for the role of billionaire S&M fan 'Christian Grey'.

Fellow British actor, Christian Cooke (26) and 'True Blood' star, Alexander Skarsgard (37) are been heavily considered for the sensual role.

Dornan is a native of Northern Ireland and used his Irish charm to have a two year relationship with fellow British actress, Kiera Knightly.

The 31 year-old also previously modelled for Calvin Klein and played Sheriff Graham on the first season of ABC's 'Once Upon a Time'.

The casting of a new male lead needs to rapidly transpire, filming for the adaptation is scheduled to start on November 1st, and Dornan's wife, Amelia Warner, is currently pregnant which may complicate matters, and that is what Universal Pictures desperately needs to avoid.

Dakota Johnson (24) is fortunately still attached to play the role of 'Anastasia Steele', an innocent virgin pursued by the sexual predator, 'Christian Grey'.

The recent re-casting issues are likely to push back production for at least a small amount of time but the studio is still adamant that their goal still remains for an August 1st release date.

jamie dornan
Jamie Dornan could be the new 'Christian Grey'

charlie hunnam
Charlie Hunnam dropped out of the role earlier this month