By now it’s a well-known fact that the actors, selected for the lead parts in 50 Shades of Gray – Dakota Johnson and Charlie Hunnam – don’t really appeal to fans’ tastes. In fact, some avid readers of the book went so far, as to express their distaste with an online petition. It’s written mostly in caps, so you know they mean business.

Charlie Hunnam, Pacific Rim Premiere
Hunnam's credits include roles in Sons of Anarchy and Pacific Rim.

According to The Hollywood Reporter however, at the time of Hunnam and Johnson’s casting, the studio was running out of options. Rumors about possible casting choices, from the somewhat plausible to the downright ridiculous, have been swirling for months. During this entire time, Universal Pictures were working to find the perfect Ana Steele and Christian Grey. According to the Reporter, Ryan Gosling was the first actor to be considered. Unfortunately, he wasn’t interested. The studio’s interest then went to Garett Hedlund and British TV star Christian Cooke, both of whom reportedly passed on the controversial role.

Dakota Johnson, Manhattan
Johnson doesn't really fit the loose descriptions of Ana Steele either.

As for the female lead, while the rumors about Emma Watson and Mila Kunis had very little credibility to begin with, the studio did reach out to Shailene Woodley, who was an early favorite of EL James, however the young actress declined due to conflicting press obligations for her upcoming YA adaptation Divergent. Overall, it seems the search has been tough, which begs the question – if Hunnam and Johnson weren’t the first choices, were they perhaps the only ones willing to do it? In any case, it doesn’t look like there are any more casting announcements coming, so disgruntled fans will have to get used to the new images of their favorite characters.

Now the pressure is on to film and edit the movie on a shortened time frame. According to THR, Universal and Focus want to begin shooting in late October in Vancouver or Los Angeles, with a release date of Aug. 1, 2014.

E.L. James, 50 Shades of Gray Signing
The actors weren't James' first picks either, but the show must go on.