It’s been a firestorm of fury from Fifty Shades of Grey fans ever since it was announced that Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson landed the leads in the much-anticipated film adaption.
Now a Change.org petition – with over 23,00 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon – hopes to harness that outspoken backlash to recast the leading roles of sexy billionaire businessman Christian Grey (Hunnam) and his bright-eyed, college student fling, Anatasia Steele (Johnson). (Yes, it is totally Batfleck d j vu).
The campaign isn’t just rallying against the actors, but is lobbying for their replacements – calling White Collar‘s Matt Bomer the “PERFECT DESCRIPTION OF CHRISTIAN GREY” and Gilmore girl Alexis Bledel the “PERFECT ACTRESS TO REPRESENT ANASTASIA STEELE.” (The caps, we can only assume, are their way of digitally shouting).
Both had been fan favorites for casting Fifty Shades, leading to a few viral, fan-made trailers. Bomer, with his chiseled facial features and those piercing baby blues, is understandable; but Bledel is somewhat baffling, as she is best known for painful goody two-shoes parts, a la Gilmore and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It’s hard to picture her handcuffed in Christian’s ‘Red Room of Pain.’
Despite the criticism, the team behind the film have been standing by their casting. One of the film’s producers, Dana Brunetti, responded to the recoil on Twitter:
There is a lot that goes into casting that isn’t just looks. Talent, availability, their desire to do it, chemistry with other actor, etc.
– Dana Brunetti (@DanaBrunetti) September 2, 2013
Even the author, E.L. James, gave Hunnam and Johnson her bid of confidence:
To all the supporters, lovers and haters – thank you so much for the passion that you have for this project. You all rock. All of you.
– E L James (@E_L_James) September 2, 2013
Fifty Shades of Grey, based on the first book in the erotic trilogy, is due in theaters Aug. 1, 2014.