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Sons of Anarchy alum Charlie Hunnam made headlines in 2013 when he signed on to play Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades trilogy. The actor made even more headlines a few months later when he backed out of the movie. But fans might not know that Charlie Hunnam wasn’t the only Fifty Shades star who wanted to quit.

Charlie Hunnam says quitting ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ was a ‘traumatic experience’

Charlie Hunnam Fifty Shades, Jamie Dornan, Fifty Shades of Gray actor
‘Sons of Anarchy’ star Charlie Hunnam | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for STXfilms

Since walking away from the leading role in a billion-dollar franchise, Charlie Hunnam has opened up about the experience. The actor says he had committed to too many projects during that time. His schedule was so jam-packed that it was beginning to affect his mental health.

At the same time Fifty Shades started shooting, Hunnam was wrapping up his final season of Sons of Anarchy. He had also committed to a role in his friend Guillermo del Toro’s gothic romance, Crimson Peak.

As Showbiz Cheat Sheet previously reported, Hunnam admitted he was so overwhelmed that he had a nervous breakdown.

“I was going to finish [filming] Sons at like 11 p.m. Friday night, get on the plane Saturday morning to Vancouver for Fifty, missing the whole first week of rehearsal, and start shooting Monday morning,” Hunnam recalled.

“And I was going to shoot that film, wrap that on Wednesday. And the following Monday, I was going to start shooting Crimson Peak in Toronto. I just had like … frankly, something of a nervous breakdown.”

Hunnam realized he couldn’t do it all and dropped out of Fifty Shades. He calls backing out of the film a “traumatic experience.”

Charlie Hunnam wasn’t the only ‘Fifty Shades’ actor who wanted to quit

As fans know, Jamie Dornan ended up playing Christian Grey. After the first Fifty Shades film grossed over $500 million at the box office, rumors started swirling that he wouldn’t return for the sequels. According to Closer, Dornan wanted to quit the trilogy because of his wife.

Reports claimed that Amelia Warner struggled to cope with the overwhelming attention her husband was receiving from female fans.

“Jamie said the movie would skyrocket his career. He tried to assure Amelia nothing would change, but women all over the world now lust after Jamie,” an insider claimed at the time. “She hasn’t seen the film, and I don’t think she will, to be honest.”

The source also claimed Dornan wanted to quit because of the bad reviews and his perceived lack of chemistry with co-star Dakota Johnson. Around the same time that rumors of Dornan leaving the franchise swirled, there were reports that director Sam Taylor-Johnson quit because of clashes with author E.L. James. The latter turned out to be true.

However, Dornan went on to star in the sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.

In 2021, the actor finally set the record straight on whether he regretted Fifty Shades

“Ultimately, no,” he told GQ. “It’s done no harm to my career to be part of a movie franchise that has made more than $1 billion. Every working actor would say the same thing. It’s provided — a lot. There’s no shame in saying it’s transformed my life and my family’s life financially. I am very, very grateful for this and always will be.” 

The ‘Sons of Anarchy’ star has never watched the ‘Fifty Shades’ movies


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Hunnam says he’s never seen any of the films in the trilogy because he “doesn’t want to open that wound.” Not only was quitting traumatic, but Hunnam also calls it the “worst professional experience” of his life.

The 42-year-old says it was the most emotionally destructive and difficult situation he’s ever faced in his career. He described his decision to walk away from the role of Christian Grey as “heartbreaking.”

Ultimately, Hunnam has no regrets about his decision. His biggest fear was failing on “such a grand scale.” He knew he couldn’t transition from Jax Teller to Christian Grey in a matter of hours. However, it was painful to admit that to himself.

Hunnam says he loved the character and wanted to play the part. But it just didn’t work out. Although he hasn’t seen the films, Hunnam is sure Dornan did an “excellent job.” However, he knows that if he had played Christian Grey, the character would’ve been “totally different.”