Matt Bomer, Cillian Murphy tipped to replace Charlie Hunnam in ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’

Hunnam has dropped out of the film adaptation because of his 'immersive TV schedule'

Matt Bomer and Cillian Murphy are bookies’ favourites to replace Charlie Hunnam in the Fifty Shades Of Grey film.

Last month (September) EL James, the author of the best-selling trilogy of erotic novels, finally announced the film’s leads. Charlie Hunnam (Sons Of Anarchy, Queer As Folk) was to star as sexually adventurous businessman Christian Grey opposite Dakota Johnson (Ben And Kate) as impressionable college student Anastasia Steele.

However, Hunnam has now dropped out of the film with a statement from Universal Pictures confirming: “The filmmakers of Fifty Shades Of Grey and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead, given Hunnam’s immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey.”

Ladbrokes, White Collar star Bomer is 6/1 favourite to take on the role, followed by Murphy at 7/1 and The Vampire DiariesIan Somerhalder at 8/1. Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) and Chace Crawford (Gossip Girl) are also considered leading contenders with both currently listed at 10/1.

The casting of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey had been the subject of endless speculation ever since James sold the screen rights to Fifty Shades Of Grey in March 2012. Emma Watson and Mila Kunis were once considered frontrunners to play Steele, while Robert Pattinson (now 14/1) and Ryan Gosling (now 16/1) had each been linked to the part of Grey.

Nowhere Boy‘s Sam Taylor-Wood is on board as director and the film is due to start shooting next month (November) in Vancouver. Fifty Shades Of Grey will open in cinemas on August 1, 2014.