Charlie Hunnam, the star of cable TV smash Sons Of Anarchy and last summer’s international hit Pacific Rim, has pulled out of Universal and Focus Features’ Fifty Shades Of Grey due to work commitments.

The studios issued a statement on Saturday (October 12) that read: “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.”

Only last week Hunnam told Entertainment Weekly: “There are so many fans of that book and I know that on the surface, I’m probably not what everybody imagined. Because reading is so personal and people bring a character to life in their imagination, they feel ownership over that character.” He went on to add the pressure was “daunting if I allowed myself to think about it too much.”

In September it emerged that Hunnam would play Christian Grey, the wealthy young entrepreneur who embarks upon a steamy relationship with college student Anastasia to be played by Dakota Johnson, the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith.

Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct the film based on E.L. James’ global bestselling series of books. Fifty Shades Of Grey is scheduled to open on Aug 1, 2014.