Considering last month's Fifty Shades of Grey shenanigans, news of casting developments for this and any sequels might be taken with a grain of salt by most. Once Charlie Hunnam left the role of Christian Grey, Universal and Focus Features were left scrambling to find a replacement - not a first for the film business by any means, but it still didn't bode well for the film's progress.
Shades seems to be back on track now, though — after True Blood's Luke Grimes and Jennifer Ehle of Zero Dark Thirty joined Dakota Johnson's Anastasia Steele last month (as Grey's brother Elliot and Anastasia's mother, respectively), the studios have found their final principal.
Variety reported Friday that 27-year-old actress Eloise Mumford will take on the role of Kate Kavanaugh, Steele's best friend and roommate. In the book by E.L. James, Kavanaugh - a reporter for the school newspaper - falls ill and asks Anastasia to fill in for her in an interview with businessman Christian Grey.
Several actresses are said to have tested for Kate with Dakota Johnson, and the role was supposed to have been filled earlier this fall once the studios thought the search for their Christian Grey was over. Hunnam signed on to the movie in early September, but dropped out a month-and-a-half later, leaving the role open for Jamie Dornan (Once Upon a Time).
While Hunnam attributed the departure to his commitments to the upcoming (and possibly final) season of Sons of Anarchy and Guillermo del Toro-helmed horror Crimson Peak, it's been rumored that the real reason had more to do with a sub-par script and the overwhelming response to his casting. (Suffice it to say, not everyone was thrilled about it.)
It's unlikely that Mumford will face the same level of scrutiny that Hunnam did. Kate Kavanaugh is one of the more prominent characters in the book, but not major enough to draw the same kind of ire over what fans might deem controversial casting. Mumford, best known for her work on the short-lived ABC series The River, is currently filming Joe Johnston's thriller Not Safe for Work alongside Max Minghella.
Now that the primary roles have been filled (most likely for good this time), the movie's on track for its Valentine's 2015 release. (Technically it comes out the day before, but my gut tells me it will be a popular date night movie.)
What do you think of this latest bit of casting news? Is Mumford a good fit for the film? Let us know in the comments.
Filming for Fifty Shades of Grey is scheduled to start in December, with an expected release of February 13th, 2015.