Leading roles announced for Fifty Shades of Grey - the film

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It was inevitable really. When Fifty Shades of Grey took chick lit into overdrive and women across the land allowed themselves to feel liberated in it’s pages, a film couldn’t possibly be far behind. And with the impending celluloid version now announced, the author, EL James has announced who is to play the central characters.

She took to Twitter to announce that Britain's Charlie Hunnam and US actress Dakota Johnson had landed the leading roles in the erotic extravaganza. Hunnam, who will play Christian Grey is perhaps now best known for his role as Jax Teller on the hit American biker drama, Sons of Anarchy where he wrestles Hamlet like with his destiny in a motorcycle club. But British audiences may also remember him from the seminal series, Queer as Folk.

Johnson, 23, is the daughter of Miami Vice star Don Johnson, and Melanie Griffith. She has appeared in Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network and played the lead role in the TV show Ben and Kate. The film will be directed by artist and film-maker Sam Taylor-Johnson and is scheduled for release in August 2014.

Published in 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey follows the torridly sexual relationship between billionaire Christian and college student Anastasia. The novel spawned two sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, and the Fifty Shades franchise reportedly earned James, 50, a reported $95m (£61.5m) last year.

The author called Hunnam "gorgeous and talented" and Johnson "lovely" as she revealed their joint casting to the world. Ryan Gosling, Channing Tatum and Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke were among those rumoured to have been in contention for the Christian and Anastasia roles, and both Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Sam Taylor-Johnson's actor husband, and Harry Potter star Emma Watson publicly ruled themselves out of the equation. All that is left now is to see what rating it will get when it goes up before the film classification board.

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