Dakota Johnson, Charlie Hunnam to star in 50 shades of Grey

CHRISTIAN Grey was one of the most coveted roles in Hollywood, and today it emerged that the leading man in the 50 Shades of Grey film would be played by a Brit.

Charlie Hunnam, who starred in Byker Grove andQueer as Folk, has beaten a string of actors to the role of Christian Grey in the big screen adaptation of the literary phenomenon.

The female lead Anastasia Steele was also revealed, as Dakota Johnson, the daughter of actors Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson.

EL James , the 50 Shades author, announced the news on her blog. She called Johnson "lovely" and said Hunnam was "gorgeous and talented".

The film will be directed by artist-turned-director Sam Taylor-Johnson, who directed John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, and is due out in August next year.

Dakota Johnson will play Anastasia Steele.
Dakota Johnson will play Anastasia Steele. Universal Pictures

Rumours about Hunnam's potential involvement started last month, following months of talk linking everyone from Ryan Gosling and Chris Hemsworth to Michael Fassbender and Alex Pettyfer.

Hunnam, 33, was discovered by a production manager for Byker Grove in 1998. His roles on film include Children of Men, Cold Mountain and the recent blockbuster Pacific Rim.

In the US, he is well known for his leading role of Jax Teller in the biker drama Sons of Anarchy, which has run since 2008.

Johnson had been linked with the role of Anastasia, as well as Alicia Vikander and Shailene Woodley.

Johnson has modelled and appeared in small roles in films including The Social Network, 21 Jump Streetand The Five-Year Engagement.

To date, the 50 Shades trilogy has sold over 70 million copies worldwide, one of the fastest selling series of all time.  Universal Pictures and Focus Features secured the multi-million dollar rights last year for the story of the relationship between a college student and a wealthy entrepreneur who takes her into the world of S&M.