Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns Watch: Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis’ Penned Teen Horror ‘The Curse of Downers Grove’ With Bella Heathcote Watch: Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis’ Penned Teen Horror ‘The Curse of Downers Grove’ With Bella Heathcote Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Bond Is Back In New Trailer For 'Spectre' With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, And More Watch: Bond Is Back In New Trailer For 'Spectre' With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, And More Alejandro González Iñárritu Still Has To Shoot The Finale Of 'The Revenant' Alejandro González Iñárritu Still Has To Shoot The Finale Of 'The Revenant' The 20 Best Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Films Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie Martin Scorsese Names His 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time Martin Scorsese Names His 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time

Ryan Gosling, Garrett Hedlund & Shailene Woodley Among The Actors Who Passed On 'Fifty Shades'

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist September 5, 2013 at 10:25AM

To an actor, a franchise is an attractive thing: it could mean years (maybe even decades) of solid, dependable work, with each subsequent installment usually incentivized to some degree and with the sense of community and family growing with each outing (many of the "Harry Potter" actors, both young and old, equated the experience to going back to school). In the mad scramble for big studio parts, a franchise is a sturdily proven gig. Which makes actors who pass on potential franchises somewhat baffling (remember when Josh Hartnett was repeatedly courted for Superman?)... Yet pass they do. While Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson ended up scoring the pivotal leads in "Fifty Shades of Grey," a number of Hollywood's elite passed on the project. Franchise schmanchise.
10
Fifty Shades Of Grey Dakota Johnson Charlie Hunnam

To an actor, a franchise is an attractive thing: it could mean years (maybe even decades) of solid, dependable work, with each subsequent installment usually incentivized to some degree and with the sense of community and family growing with each outing (many of the "Harry Potter" actors, both young and old, equated the experience to going back to school). In the mad scramble for big studio parts, a franchise is a sturdily proven gig. Which makes actors who pass on potential franchises somewhat baffling (remember when Josh Hartnett was repeatedly courted for Superman?)... Yet pass they do. While Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson ended up scoring the pivotal leads in "Fifty Shades of Grey," a number of Hollywood's elite passed on the project. Franchise schmanchise

According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, Ryan Gosling was initially courted for the role of billionaire S&M enthusiast Christian Grey, but passed. Garrett Hedlund was also "courted" by Universal but "couldn't connect with the character." Matt Bomer, who appeared on a Change.org petition alongside Alexis Bledel, in a fruitless effort to have executives and filmmakers recast the movie, was apparently never in the running.

On the lady side of things, supposedly Felicity Jones was in the mix, but the 30-year-old actress seemed too seasoned to play 21-year-old college student Ana Steele, who engages in a dom/sub relationship with Grey. Shailene Woodley was interested, but her press commitments to "Divergent," which could become one of those fabled Next Big Franchises, got in the way. Interestingly, like Johnson, Woodley would have been the only Yank in a cast and crew dominated by Brits. Alicia Vikander, Imogen Poots and Elizabeth Olsen only got as far as being "considered," according to the report.

Amazingly, the movie's explicit sexual content seems not to have swayed any actor one way or the other (Woodley apparently was nonplussed), although this could be because nobody's read the script yet and it could be really, really tame. "Saving Mr. Banks" scribe Kelly Marcel's screenplay has been under lock and key, with only a handful of people even allowed to read (including Focus Features head James Schamus, producers Mike De Luca and Dana Brunetti, director Sam Taylor-Johnson and author EL James), so maybe it's just really mild and easy to manage.

If "Fifty Shades of Grey" takes off, of course, it could be a huge franchise and something that catapults Hunnam and Johnson, already on the cusp of stardom, into the next stratosphere. Of course, as the Hollywood Reporter points out, if it fizzles, its raw mixture of kink and camp could result in the next "Showgirls," something that star Elizabeth Berkley never recovered from, despite minor roles in the years that followed. But hey, who's to look a gifted franchise in the mouth?

This article is related to: Fifty Shades of Grey, Ryan Gosling, Charlie Hunnam, Dakota Johnson, Felicity Jones, Shailene Woodley, Garrett Hedlund, Kelly Marcel, Sam Taylor-Johnson


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates