’50 Shades of Grey’ Movie: Porn Star James Deen to Play Christian Grey?

By: Gary Susman / September 4, 2012

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If you’re going to cast someone to play Christian Grey, the sexual slavemaster at the center of Fifty Shades of Grey, why not just bypass traditional Hollywood leading men and go straight to the world of porn?

That’s what may yet happen with the much-discussed film version of E.L. James’ steamy bestseller.

According to novelist/screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis, who was once shortlisted to adapt the book into a screenplay himself, the filmmakers are thinking of casting porn star James Deen as Christian Grey — a casting choice that Ellis says has the approval of the Fifty Shades author herself.

“Just got inside information that James Deen is actually in the running to play Christian in “Fifty Shades of Grey” with E.L. James support,” Ellis tweeted on Saturday.

Who does Ellis believe will co-star as Anastasia Steele?

Ellis followed his initial tweet about the production with two more in quick succession, claiming that the film will have a very low budget (by Hollywood standards) of under $15 million, and that the filmmakers want to find an unknown ingenue to play Grey’s lover, Anasatasia Steele.

“‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ will be budgeted at 12-15 million and James Deen is on the list of actors to play Christian Grey according to source,” Ellis tweeted.

He added, “Fifty Shades of Grey movie will DEFINITELY be written by a woman and the budget will be below 15 million. Ana will be played by an unknown.”

The Less Than Zero novelist got himself in trouble last time he went on a tweeting session about Fifty Shades. Last month, Ellis earned criticism for saying that Magic Mike star Matt Bomer wouldn’t make a convincing Christian because he’s openly gay, and audiences wouldn’t be able to suspend disbelief to accept him as a hetero stud. (At least no one who knows Deen’s background would doubt that he is, um, up to the task.)

Ellis and Dean are close friends, Deen having been cast in the Ellis-scripted drama The Canyons alongside Lindsay Lohan. (You can see photos of the two young stars partying together in the gallery at the top of this article.) That movie, currently in production and due for release next year, marks Deen’s first foray into mainstream filmmaking. Fifty Shades would surely complete the transition, making him perhaps the first male porn star to successfully cross over into serious, legit roles in Hollywood.

Of course, that’s assuming he actually gets the part of Christian Grey. In a recent interview, E.L. James’ husband, Niall Leonard, said he thought Ryan Gosling had the part sewn up.