By Susan King
1:21 PM EDT, September 2, 2013
"Fifty Shades of Grey" novelist E.L. James was very busy on Twitter on Monday morning. No sooner had she announced that Dakota Johnson ("Ben and Kate") had been cast in the feature film version of her erotic novel as Anastasia Steele she broke some other news too.
"The gorgeous and talented Charlie Hunnam will be Christian Grey in the film adaptation of 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' " she wrote.
Though Johnson's casting was a surprise, Hunnam's name had been bandied about of late as one of the leading candidates to play the 27-year-old billionaire who finds romance with a college student.
The 33-year-old British heartthrob is best known as Jackson "Jax" Teller on "Sons of Anarchy," FX's series about an outlaw motorcycle club. He was also seen this summer flexing his muscles as Raleigh Beckett in Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim."
The casting of Johnson and Hunnam ends months of speculation about who would play the lead roles in the adaptation of the first book in James' "Fifty Shades" trilogy. The trilogy has sold 70 million copies worldwide in e-book and print, making the romances one of the fastest selling book series.
Universal Pictures and Focus Features plan to release "Fifty Shades of Grey" on Aug. 1, 2014. Kelly Marcel is adapting James' book, and Sam Taylor-Johnson ("Nowhere Book") is set to direct.
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