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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Charlie Hunnam, who grew up in north Cumbria, lands lead role in Fifty Shades of Grey movie

An actor who spent his teenage years in north Cumbria is to play a starring role in the movie version of the cult EL James erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

Charlie Hunnam photo
Charlie Hunnam

The author has confirmed the casting of Charlie Hunnam, 33, as the book’s character Christian Grey, a wealthy entrepreneur who begins a sadomasochistic relationship with a college student called Anastasia Steele. She will be played by 23-year-old actress Dakota Johnson, daughter of actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith.

EL James – currently the highest-paid writer in the world – confirmed the castings in her blog on Monday.

She wrote: “The gorgeous and talented Charlie Hunnam will be Christian Grey in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Hunnam was born in Newcastle but moved to the Eden Valley village of Melmerby when he was 12 and went to school at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith.

He went on to study performing arts at Cumbria Institute of the Arts in Carlisle.

Hunnam was still living at Melmerby in 1999 when, aged just 18, he hit the headlines for his portrayal of 15-year-old Nathan in the hit Channel 4 TV show Queer as Folk.

A few years later, he sparked local controversy by making scathing comments about his life in Penrith.

In an interview, he described the town as “just about the worst place you could hope to live”.

“It was a nightmare,” he said. “They hated me from the second I got there right up until the second I left.

“I made one friend. It was a dead end kind of existence,” added Hunnam.

His acting career began with a part in the children’s drama Byker Grove in 1998.

Over the last decade, his reputation has been boosted by a series of starring roles in top selling movies.

He appeared in Children of Men, Cold Mountain, and recently in Guillermo Del Toro’s blockbuster Pacific Rim, playing the retired fighter pilot Raleigh Becket.

The main roles in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey are probably the most coveted in Hollywood.

Since their publication, the EL James trilogy have sold more than 70 million copies worldwide. Universal Pictures and Focus Features secured the multi-million dollar movie rights last year.

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