Greek-American comedian Zach Galifianakis has been cast** as the male lead in the upcoming film adaptation of the bondage-themed book series Fifty Shades of Grey.
According to Deadline.com, the The Hangover trilogy star will tackle the character of Christian Grey, the billionaire entrepreneur with a devious sexual life.
It is the second time producers have recast the role, which had previously gone to Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam and subsequently to Irish newcomer Jamie Dornan, who bowed out of production because of a family emergency.
“Zach has been looking to make the transition to dramatic roles for quite some time now,” says a source close to the actor. “He’s hoping his work in Fifty Shades will be like Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting or Bill Murray in Lost in Translation — a breakthrough performance that will establish him as more than just a funnyman.”
The Fifty Shades of Grey book series is a three-part erotic romance that has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide.
Galifianakis has received support from the series’ author E.L. James.
“I think it’s a fantastic choice,” she told Variety. “I originally conceived the Christian Grey character as someone furry and hilarious. In later drafts he became more clean-cut — but in a way this is more fitting.”
Zach Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. His mother, Mary Frances (née Cashion), ran a community center for the arts, and his father, Harry Galifianakis, was a heating oil vendor. Galifianakis’ paternal grandparents emigrated from Crete, Greece, and Galifianakis was baptized in his father’s Greek Orthodox faith.
**This story originally ran as a “trick” instead of a “treat” on Halloween at Codewit.com. We thought it was very clever. Alas, it’s not true. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments had Galifianakis actually been cast as Christian Grey!