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LOS ANGELES – Charlie Hunnam will likely have to bare all and engage in some very graphic sex scenes as the leading man in “50 Shades of Grey,” but he says it’s not a new dimension for him.

“You know what, I had such a baptism of fire with regards to sexuality on camera at the beginning of my career,” explained Hunnam. “I starred in the British channel Four miniseries ‘Queer As Folk’ where I played a young, gay character, and there were some incredible, explicit sex scenes on that show. … Now I am 16 years older and more mature, so I don’t anticipate them being too much of a problem. It’s like anything else, just an exciting challenge.”

After months of speculation, the 33-year-old Hunnam was chosen to play Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson chosen to play Anastasia Steele, the main characters in the erotic, best-selling novel “50 Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James. Hunnam talked about his hotly anticipated role on Saturday night as he attended the premiere of the sixth season of “Sons of Anarchy,” on which he plays the character Jax.

One of the directors for the FX show revealed that Hunnam initially turned down the role of Grey.

“One week ago or two weeks ago, he was on my set when they came back to him, and they wanted him to do it because he passed on it once, you know,” Peter Weller said. “They came back to him, and I said, ‘Charlie, Charlie, Charlie, what do you think, this is too pulpy or something?’ He said, ‘Ah.’ ‘Well, let me give you the list of actors who did matinee-idol style stuff, beginning with Cary Grant. Let’s go there. If you don’t do this, I’ll burn your house down.’”

However, Hunnam, who also starred in this summer’s robot-monster battle “Pacific Rim,” said he wasn’t hesitant to accept the role.

“I just – there was a bit of a timing issue where I just wanted to ensure that I was going to have enough time to really do the preparation, so I can bring this guy to life and do him justice, and when they decided to push the schedule to accommodate that, then it was a no-brainer and I was in,” he said.

After the casting of Hunnam and Johnson was announced, many fans took to social media to lash out at the film’s producers. As of Sunday night, a petition on change.org arguing that actors Matthew Bomer and Alexis Bledel are better suited for the roles than Hunnam and Johnson had 75,008 signatures.