Fifty Shades: Charlie Hunnam Wanted Dakota Johnson For Anastasia – ‘We Had A Real Chemistry’

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie casting of Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson in the starring roles took many fans by surprise, but Charlie says he earned the role and he’s thrilled with his leading lady.

At the Season 6 premiere of his FX show, “Sons of Anarchy,” the British actor opened up to Access Hollywood about the arduous road that led him to landing the role of sexually gifted billionaire Christian Grey, starting with character analysis and work sessions with “Fifty Shades” director Sam Taylor-Johnson.

“I talked with [Sam] at great length on several occasions about the project and her wishes and intentions for it,” Charlie, 33, told Access. “So, by the time I finally got offered the role, we’d gone through a long process.”

Still, getting the call that he’d been cast in the highly anticipated screen adaptation of E L James’ erotic novel was thrilling.

“It was incredibly exciting,” he said. “I feel really honored and excited to be entrusted with the job of bringing this wonderful character to life.

As for co-starring with Dakota Johnson, Charlie said he knew after test reading with the 23-year-old actress that she was his Anastasia, were he to play Christian.

“As soon as we started reading it I felt certain that I could bring this guy to life in a very honest and exciting way, and there would be a real dynamic between Dakota and myself,” he said. “When they called me and told me, ‘We would love you to do this,’ the first question I asked was, ‘It’ll be Dakota, right?’ It just felt like we had a real chemistry in that reading.”

So, did Charlie and Dakota indulge in a little pre-shoot spanking during their reading? (Cue the, “Oh my!”)

“No, I did not hit her! That’s all to come,” he said, laughing.

PHOTOS: ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ – Fan Castings, Real Castings & Star Reactions

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is set to theaters on August 1, 2014.

— Erin O’Sullivan

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