ENTERTAINMENT
10/15/2013 04:00 pm ET

Alexander Skarsgard, Theo James Make Universal's Shortlist For '50 Shades Of Grey' Replacements

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As "50 Shades of Grey" fans lobby for the handsome lad of their choice to take over as Christian Grey, a small set of names have emerged on Universal's reported short list for the role.

Those names, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter, are Alexander Skarsgard ("True Blood"), Jamie Dornan ("Marie Antoinette," U.K.'s "The Fall"), Theo James ("Golden Boy," "Divergent") and Christian Cooke (U.K.'s "Where the Heart Is," "Magic City"). Garrett Hedlund, who was in the running during the first round of casting, also saw his name reemerge, but the actor is unavailable due to his shooting schedule for Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken."

Skarsgard, Dornan, James and Cooke join the many names -- including Ian Somerhalder and Alex Pettyfer -- that fans have bandied about as top choices for the role now that Charlie Hunnam has dropped out of the project. There's no word as to whether Matt Bomer, who was the subject of a petition to recast the movie that has garnered nearly 88,000 signatures, is officially in the running.

The news of the casting comes with the revelation that Universal and Focus Features have hired Patrick Marber ("Closer," "Notes on a Scandal") to polish the script. THR notes that there was some speculation about Hunnam's departure being tied to the quality of the script, the first iteration of which was written by Kelly Marcel (Fox's "Terra Nova," "Saving Mr. Banks"), but that has not been confirmed.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is still set for release on Aug. 1, 2014.

[via THR]

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