The battle over who will play sexually intense business tycoon Christian Grey in the upcoming film version of E.L. James’ controversial novel Fifty Shades of Grey has gotten a lot hotter.
Shia LaBeouf, the star of Transformers, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, has announced it will participate in Lars von Trier's upcoming film Nymphomaniac – where he will reportedly shoot explicit sex scenes, to his fans’ delight and his girlfriend Karolyn Pho’s heartbreak.
The risky, but potentially rewarding, career move places LaBeouf as one of the strongest contenders yet vying for the coveted role of S&M magnate Christian Grey – a role which has not been cast yet but that has become one of the most speculated about in contemporary cinema (thanks to the wild popularity of the British author’s trilogy of erotic novels).
So far, Ryan Gosling (The Gangster Squad), Henry Cavill (Man of Steel), Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) and Matt Bomer (USA Network's White Collar) have been some of the actors suggested by online fans to play the coveted role. And though neither E.L. James nor producers Brunetti & De Luca have given their opinion one way or the other, the author did mention she wouldn’t want Robert Pattinson from the Twilight saga – in which Fifty Shades is said to be inspired – to play the CEO of Grey Enterprises.
Similarly, controversy ensued in the still nonexistent set of Fifty Shades of Grey when author Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) – who had been bidding himself on Twitter as one of the potential screenwriters – threw Matt Bomer under the bus as supposedly incapable of playing Grey due to the fact that he is openly gay. Unfortunately, the critic came across as the reaction of a sore looser as Easton Ellis was not invited to participate in the project.
But LaBeouf’s surge in the Christian Grey cast online speculation might put all the previous rumors and controversies to rest. The Transformers star has both blockbuster and independent film credibility and appeal. Whoever ends up cast as Christian Grey must not eclipse the role with an off-screen larger-than-life persona. At the same time, producers can’t risk working with a totally unknown newcomer who would have difficulty attracting the audience to the box office.
That's why the producers should consider Shia LaBeouf as one of the potential Christian Greys, once they start auditioning for the part.