With lead actor Charlie Hunnam bowing out and Patrick Marber coming on to polish the screenplay, it's looking increasingly unlikely that "Fifty Shades of Grey" will meet its planned early November start of production.
Universal and Focus recently hired Marber, the screenwriter of "Notes of a Scandal" and "Closer," to amp up the characters in Kelly Marcel's script, sources confirm to Variety.
While some report that Marber was hired before Hunnam left the project, the "Sons of Anarchy" star had already made the decision long before the weekend.
It's not unusual for high profile scribes to do polishes on scripts before they film. Joss Whedon also reworked sequences in Marvel's upcoming "Thor: The Dark World" as it was shooting.
But with the Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed movie expected to shoot next month with the studio scrambling to find a male lead, in addition to tweaking the script, production on the racy project could be delayed.
"Fifty Shades of Grey," based on the best-selling novel by E.L. James, is set for release Aug. 1, 2014.
The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news.
Related storiesFifty Shades of Disarray: Where Do Universal and Focus Go From Here?Jennifer Ehle Joins 'Fifty Shades of Grey'Is '50 Shades' Star Charlie Hunnam Ready for Graphic Sex Scenes? 2013 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLCCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun