Jamie Dornan has signed on to play Christian Grey in Universal and Focus Films' adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey - the bestselling erotic novel by E.L James. Dornan - an Irish actor with only a modest CV - replaces Charlie Hunnam who infamously backed out of the project just 2 weeks before filming was set to begin in Vancouver.

It's likely that Dornan came to the producer's attentions for his excellent turn in the BBC series The Fall, with The X-Files' Gillian Anderson. Playing a bereavement psychologist moonlighting as serial killer, Dornan proved he could do the whole glassy-eyed maniac thing. 

Speaking with Digital Spy of one particularly disturbing scene, the former model said, "I spent a day strangling myself on the back of a door while I masturbated to a driving license of one of my victims. That's not an easy day at the office! And they cut it out! I couldn't believe it-they didn't even tell me. When I first watched the series, it just wasn't there!"

Though The Fall probably got him the screen-test, Dornan might be best known to U.S. audiences for playing the Huntsman in ABC's One Upon a Time. The celebrity gossip brigade might know the Northern Irish actor for his two years dating Keira Knitghtley.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Dornan, 31, was actually contacted about the role of billionaire businessman Christian Grey before Hunnam officially dropped out the project. 

He tested last Friday (October 18, 2013) opposite the female lead Dakota Johnson and in front of director Sam Taylor-Johnson, author EL James and producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti. Sources say the Tony-nominated actor Billy Magnussen and The Borgias star Francois Arnaud also tested, though it was Dornan who won out.

In 2006, the actor appeared in the Sofia Coppola movie Marie Antoinette and went on to appear in the drama movie Shadows in the Sun with Jean Simmons and Beyond the Rave - a Hammer Horror production. 

Still, other than The Fall, he's still to flex his acting muscles and has juggled the profession with modelling for the likes of Calvin Klein, Dior, Aquascutum and Armani.

If contractual negotiations go as planned, Dornan will sign on for three and possibly four Fifty Shades of Grey movies based on the erotic books - assuming the first movie does big business at the box-office.

Elsewhere in the Fifty Shades of Grey casting, the Hollywood Reporter has learned that Universal and Focus approached Juno Temple to play Anastasia Steele's best friend and Frank Grillo to play Grey's bodyguard. Both actors passed on the role. With just days to go before filming, the only other officially announced casting is Jennifer Ehle as Carla May Wilks, Ana's mother.

With the lead actors now in place, it seems the only other problem that Universal and Focus have is the script. On the same day that Hunnam left the project, they hired Patrick Marber to polish the characters in the original script penned by Kelly Marcel - the surprising choice of screenwriter that made Bret Easton Ellis really, really angry.

Jamie Dornan 50 Shades of GreyA Bearded Jamie Dornan.

Jamie Dornan Christian Grey
Jamie Dornan Will Play Christian Grey in 'Fifty Shades of Grey.'

Dakota Johnson
Dakota Johnson Will Play Anastasia Steele in 'Fifty Shades of Grey.'