OK! Investigates 'Fifty Shades of Grey'—Who's Playing Christian, When the Film's Premiering and Why It's Taking So Long


Apr. 26 2013, Published 9:15 a.m. ET

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Fifty Shades of Grey fans were whipped into a frenzy when word got out that Oscar-nominated director Gus Van Sant shot a test scene with actor Alex Pettyfer in the role of the erotic bestseller’s protagonist, Christian Grey.

Even better, the news was that this wasn’t just any old humdrum scene. According to TheWrap, Pettyfer, pictured left, stripped down to act out the moment the CEO Grey takes university graduate Anastasia Steele’s virginity.

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It’s a titillating story, but Van Sant reportedly did the test shoot on his own to prove to the studios that he’s the best director for the job. Unfortunately, his efforts might not matter—not yet anyway. A Universal spokesperson says they haven't indicated to directors or actors that they are ready to move forward with the project.

So what’s the huge holdup? The book series has countless diehard fans that can’t wait to pop open their wallets and plunk down cold hard cash to witness their favorite literary characters steam up the silver screen.

EL James’ books have been the most popular books that the publishing industry has seen in many years,” an insider at Random House, the book series' publisher, tells “The studio knows that they have one shot to get this right, and if they don’t they will be losing billions of dollars in potential profits and franchises.”

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Another reason is that Universal and Focus, the studios which reportedly purchased the movie rights to Fifty Shades of Grey for over $3 million, may be holding out for the perfect book-to-screenplay adaptation. “I’ve known many books that have been optioned but not been made simply because it was too difficult to get the script right,” continues the Random House source, adding the halls at the publishing giant are completely quiet right now regarding the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. “It’s an incredibly complex and time-consuming process to find the best writers who can deliver a workable screenplay.”

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That theory may be exaclty the reason nothing is happening. “I think that there are totally legitimate questions about what this book is as a movie,” Universal chairman Adam Fogelson recently confessed to The Hollywood Reporter.

But take heart Fifty Shades of Grey fans! “I will tell you that it is an absolute priority for us,” continued Fogelson. “It's conceivable that we could be ready to release it as early as next summer."

Alex Pettyfer
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The studio exec also noted the book’s author wants to make sure her story will be told the right way cinematically. “I don't believe that E L James had any interest in going to a studio where rushing it into production was the vision,” said Fogelson. “I don't believe that the second or third film would have benefited from that strategy.”


So the rumors over who could eventually land the part as Christian will undoubtedly continue to swirl. But readers should keep in mind that James advises everyone to think outside the box when guessing who will land the hottest role in Hollywood. The British author says that the winning actor “may not be who people expect.”

Who do you want to play Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey? Has the time passed for a movie or do you still want one to happen? Tell us in the comments section or on Twitter @OKMagazine!


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