Fifty Shades of Grey’s casting of the lead characters from E.L. James’ novel of the same name proved difficult for the film’s producers, who couldn’t get their prototype of the domineering billionaire Christian Grey – Ryan Gosling.

Gosling wasn’t interested in playing the S&M master and seducer of English major Anastasia Steele, and neither was other favorite Garrett Hedlund, reported The Hollywood Reporter. Hedlund, best known for his turn in Tron: Legacy was in talks with Fifty Shades of Grey producers, but in the end he turned down the role. The actor reportedly cited an inability to connect with the character for not wanting to be a part of the project.

Visually a dead ringer for the books’ Christian, British TV star Christian Cooke had also been up for the part.

As for the role of the submissive Anastasia, Felicity Jones, Shailene Woodley, Alicia Vikander, Imogen Poots and Elizabeth Olsen had all been considered. Woodley, who was James’ favorite for the part, had no objections to the film’s naked demands but had prior commitments to another project.

Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson are the two actors who ultimately were offered and accepted the parts of Christian and Anastasia. The process, which involved meetings and a chemistry read, wrapped up with a deal signed on Labor Day. On Sept. 2, James took to Twitter to reveal the casting news that subsequently received a decent amount of criticism.

After a Change.org petition demanded Hunnam and Johnson be replaced by Matt Bomer and Alexis Bledel picked up thousands of signatures, producer Dana Brunetti took to Twitter to shed some light on the casting process.

“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,” Brunetti tweeted Sept. 3. “So if your favorite wasn’t cast, then it is most likely due to something on that list. Keep that in mind while hating and keep perspective.”

Fifty Shades of Grey is slated to hit theaters Aug. 1, 2013.

– Chelsea Regan

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For More ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ News:

Matt Bomer Responds To ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Casting, Change.org Petition

Dakota Johnson On Set of ‘Cymbeline’ Following ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Casting

Charlie Hunnam And Dakota Johnson Cast As ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Leads

‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Movie Release Date Set For Next Summer