So far the 50 Shades of Grey project has brought 50 shades of trouble with Universal, first with casting difficulties and now with Charlie Hunnam exiting the project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Sons of Anarchy actor backed out of the project, claiming that his work on the series would prevent him from adequately preparing for the role of Christian Grey. The initial statement by Universal read: 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.”

Charlie Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy Filming
Despite his initial bravado about the part, Hunnam has now backed out.

However, THR cites two new sources, which claim that it was actually the pressure of playing such a controversial, high-profile role that got to Hunnam and made him turn down the part.

The unwanted attention surrounding Hunnam was so distressing, that the actor was forced to hire bodyguards for the recent Sons of Anarchy premiere he attended. And of course, there was the fan outcry that followed the announcement of Hunnam and Dakota Johnson’s casting for the leads in the movie.

Charlie Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy Season Premiere
No news yet on who might be considered to replace the actor.

As for Universal, this announcement puts the studio, as well as producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti between a rock and a hard place. Now there are not only fan expectations to look out for, but an extremely tight schedule to work around. With rumors that plenty of actors have already turned down the controversial part, Hunnam might prove difficult to recast, which could jeopardize the film’s predicted release date of Aug 1, 2014. E.L. James herself showed no anxiety about the project’s fate, as she bid adieu to Hunnam via Twitter.