50 Shades to star Dakota Johnson and Charlie Hunnam. Who are they?
Film-makers choose two virtual unknowns to star in the film of E L James’s notorious S&M novel
THE endless rumours about who will play Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in the big-screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey can finally be put to bed.
EL James, the author of the erotic trilogy, has revealed on Twitter that Dakota Johnson and Charlie Hunnam will play the lead roles.
So just who are they?
Dakota Johnson, 23, might not be well known but her family are no strangers to the limelight. She is the daughter of Miami Vice actor Don Johnson and Hollywood actress Melanie Griffith. Her stepfather is Antonio Banderas and her grandmother is Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.
Johnson has had a few small roles in films such as The Social Network and The Five Year Engagement. She is also a model, previously gracing a number of fashion magazines in Europe.
The Daily Mail suggests producers cast Johnson because they wanted "a young, up-and-coming actress to play the role of virginal Anastasia".
Hunnam, 33, made his name in cult US TV show Sons of Anarchy - although British viewers might recognise him as Nathan Maloney from Channel 4′s Queer as Folk. Originally from Newcastle, one of his first roles was in children's series Byker Grove. Most recently he starred in Guillermo Del Toro's sci-fi action movie Pacific Rim.
Fifty Shades of Grey will be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, the artist-turned-filmmaker behind Nowhere Boy, and is due for release in August 2014. EL James, whose trilogy has made her one of the richest celebrities in the world, described Hunnam as "gorgeous and talented" and Johnson as "lovely" when she revealed their joint casting.
Since the project was announced in March 2012, dozens of stars have been rumoured to be involved, from Kristen Stewart, Emma Watson and Mila Kunis to Channing Tatum and Ian Somerhalder from The Vampire Diaries.
While many fans have been questioning why filmmakers went for lesser known stars, Hollywood Life says "it might be for the best".
It explains: "With so many avid fans harbouring thoughts about who Anastasia and Christian are, choosing Dakota and Charlie allows them to paint their own ideas onto her and him, because they likely don't know anything else about them.
"That trick wouldn't be as possible if say, Emma Watson and Ian Somerhalder took on the roles with their history of being Hermione Granger and Damon getting in the way." ·