June 18 marks the fictional birthday of billionaire sadist Christian Grey from the novel Fifty Shades of Grey — to celebrate, Universal Pictures and Focus Features smacked us with the first photo of actor Jamie Dornan as Grey in the film adaptation of the popular book trilogy.
Dornan is a 32-year-old Irish actor and — fitting for the steamy role — a former Calvin Klein underwear model. Dornan, who is best known for his roles as Sheriff Graham Humbert on Once Upon a Time and killer Paul Spector on The Fall, took over as leading man after Charlie Hunnam stepped down in October due to scheduling conflicts.
Dornan will star alongside 24-year-old Dakota Johnson, who will play recent college graduate Anastasia Steele. The movie premieres on Feb. 13, 2015.
The photo doesn't give away much, but it has whetted the appetite of fans, who of course raced to social media to chatter about the image. On Facebook, for example, some are swooning about the actor's smoldering stare, while others are complaining that another actor (i.e., Ian Somerhalder, Matt Bomer or Henry Cavill) wasn't chosen instead.
The Fifty Shades trilogy, which has sold more than 100 million copies in e-book and print worldwide, centers on the main characters' kinky relationship: Grey requires the young woman to sign a sexual contract, and the two routinely engage in acts such as bondage.
Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct the film, which will be produced by Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and the trilogy's author E. L. James.