Before the movie version of mega-best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey was officially announced, we named our picks to play the two amorous leads, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Now that we know that the film is really under way, we’ve cast the net wider to imagine actors in a bunch of the smaller roles. Author E L James drove a hard bargain when it came to fielding offers from movie studios — she and her agent, Valerie Hoskins, insisted on script, director, and main cast approval.
It’s apparent that James and Hoskins are doing what they can to ensure that the screen version of Fifty Shades is something deeper than a tawdry sex romp. They sold movie rights to Focus Features, the art house division of Universal Pictures; analogously, they gave mainstream publishing rights to Vintage, a prestigious imprint of Random House. “The pairing of Universal and Focus reflects the Random House and Vintage pairing that we have,” Hoskins told EW. “We love our publishers we think they’re wonderful. You have the same elements in Universal and Focus.”
The filmmakers and James are looking for more than pretty faces — they’ll look for actors to elevate the material. Here are some of our picks!
Alex Pettyfer as Christian Grey: I know, I know. Pettyfer is only 21, and Christian Grey is a sexually commanding 27 at the start of the first Fifty Shades book. But I think Pettyfer is the perfect choice because he has that tall, tousle-haired physical presence, and with his pretty-yet-rugged features, he can pass as someone in his mid- to late twenties. Plus, Christian is supposed to be a strange mix of young and old — he might run a big corporation and speak like an 80-year-old man, but there’s a youthful vulnerability that Anastasia sees in him. Pettyfer has played roles where his good looks were his primary attribute (Beastly) and also isn’t afraid to show some skin (Magic Mike).
Felicity Jones as Anastasia Steele: I may have the ages swapped here — Jones is 28 in real life and Anastasia is 21 — but Jones played a recent college grad beautifully in last year’s Like Crazy. Physically, she has those wide, innocent eyes and full lips that could make Christian Grey go wild. And those lips are important! For screen tests, the casting directors should have Anastasia hopefuls bite their lips over and over. Jones is clearly gorgeous, but her beauty is unassuming enough that you can still buy her as someone who’s unaware of her own appeal.
Mia Wasikowska as Kate Kavanagh: It’s doubtful that Wasikowska, an up-and-coming leading lady, would be interested in playing second fiddle in the Fifty Shades movie, but she has the look down. Kate’s described as “gamine and gorgeous” with strawberry blond hair — Wasikowska fits the bill perfectly. But, looks aside, I could see Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls) or Alison Brie (Mad Men) pulling off Kate (after a dye job, of course). Kate is an ambitious journalist in training with a tendency to fire off blunt remarks like, “You have dreadful sex hair.” Sounds like Dennings to me.
Michael Trevino (The Vampire Diaries) as José: José is muscular, funny, artistic, and not particularly into bondage — yet Anastasia can’t think of him as anything but a good friend. Trevino has the right mix of hotness and goofiness.
Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games) as Paul Clayton: Sure he played a raging killing machine in The Hunger Games, but he’d be a good, counter-intuitive choice as the Golden Retriever-like All-American boy who pines after Anastasia.
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) as Elliot Grey: Kwanten is already EW.com readers’ top choice to play Finnick in Catching Fire, and he’d be a great choice to play Christian’s more laidback, fun-loving adopted brother Elliot.
Mary Steenburgen (The Help) and Colm Feore (Thor) as Christian’s parents: You could believe these two as a wealthy couple who could raise someone like Christian.
Megan Mullally (Breaking In) and Gary Cole (The Good Wife) as Anastasia’s parents: These characters are pretty much Bella’s parents in Twilight, but just to change things up…
Stephen Lang (Avatar) as Taylor, the crew-cutted bodyguard: He doesn’t have much to do but look stoic and intimidating. Lang can pull that off with one bulge of his jaw muscle.
PopWatchers, what do you think of these picks? Tell us yours!