Charlie Hunnam exits ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ movie. The angry fans won.

October 14, 2013

Wow, count this as a win for the 87,000 angry “Fifty Shades of Grey” fans who signed the Change.org petition demanding that lead actor Charlie Hunnam be replaced.

Hunnam, who apparently was horrified by the intense scrutiny that came along with landing the role of S&M enthusiast Christian Grey, has dropped out of the movie adaptation for “scheduling” reasons, according to the AP. Of course. It probably had nothing to do with the film studio reportedly hiring extra security at a recent premiere so he wouldn’t be hounded by avid readers of the best-selling erotica series — or people who hated the casting choice.

Does this mark the first time intense public reaction has actually scared someone off a project? Crazed scrutiny before a movie airs isn’t new. A look back at a few other celebs affected by Fans in the Twitter Era:

Casting: Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher

Controversy: Angry fans of the book series thought Cruise was too scrawny, too short and even too pale to play the strapping leading man described in the novels.

Effect: Nothing too crazy — Tom Cruise answers to no one. However, it wasn’t a huge hit at the box office, though, making a sequel (and further outrage) unlikely.

Casting: Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games”

Controversy: Initially, diehard readers of the popular action trilogy were not pleased at Lawrence playing the lead role. Some were  upset that the casting call was for a Caucasian actress, when the books described Katniss as having “olive” skin. Others thought she was too “healthy” to play someone living in a starving society.

Effect: None. In fact, it was a complete 180 — the movie made about a gazillion dollars, and Lawrence is now beloved.

Casting: Ben Affleck as Batman

Controversy: Well, the Internet almost exploded. The night that the studio announced Affleck as the star of the “Man of Steel” sequel, Twitter lit up with angry comments about Affleck being a terrible choice, and the hashtag #Batfleck was formed. (As Affleck explained to Jimmy Fallon, the first comment he saw online was a simple, but direct “NOOOOOO!” — and then he stopped reading.)

Effect: We’ll have to wait until summer of 2015, but we’re going to go on a limb and predict it’s all going to work out just fine, box-office wise.

More Reliable Source: Gabrielle Giffords; Chris Christie; Washington National Opera; Greg Louganis; Pharrell Williams; Philippe Cousteau; Ginnifer Goodwin; Howard Homecoming; Duck Dynasty; Joe Scarborough; Julian Assange

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Emily Yahr | October 14, 2013