It’s been a week since 50 Shades of Grey casting was confirmed, and now that the petitions have died down (seriously, who signs a petition for movie casting?!), Charlie Hunnam is talking about his new role.

Speaking to a small group of reporters, Charlie talked about the casting process, including a long discussion with Sam Taylor-Johnson and a reading with Dakota Johnson, which he described as “exciting and fun and weird and compelling”.

It’s a really good approach: He’s not saying it was a dream role, or that he’s perfect for the part, or that it’s all he’s wished for. He’s also not acting above it or minimizing the source material. He’s treating it as a film, not as an, um, erotic aid for middle-aged women.

But he also doesn’t shy away from the fact that sex will be a big part of the movie, telling THR:

"My first job was on a Channel 4 miniseries called Queer as Folk. [There were] incredibly explicit sexual scenes with a man," Hunnam said. "I mean, I'm 16- and 17-years wiser now. So if I could do it when I was 18 with a guy, I can certainly do it at 33 with a lady.”

You know what Charlie is trying to tell us? Don’t worry people, I know how to f-ck.  I can do it on camera too. Which, really, is the driving force behind the outrage and petitions and fan backlash. People don’t care what Christian’s eye colour is as long as he throws down the way they imagined in their head.

And the tangible chemistry with Dakota, which producers also mentioned, was brought up too. How hot were these two together if it was good enough to risk a potentially billion dollar multi-film franchise? Clooney/Lopez in Out of Sight hot? Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith hot? Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke in 91/2 Weeks hot? I don’t know, but the bar has been set and it is high.

Charlie also makes a point to mention his girlfriend and how supportive she’s been and how he thinks this will bring them closer together, so let’s hope this keeps the Charlie/Dakota “Are they boning in real life?” rumours to a minimum. This is work for Charlie, it is a job and – this is a distinction he needs to make early for fans – it is not real. But if it inspires even a fraction of the fervor of its inspiration – Twilight – I think these 50 Shades of Grey films are going to challenge Charlie, who in the near future may have women sleeping with life size pillows of him. At 33, hopefully he’s better equipped to f-ck on camera, and better equipped to deal with the bullsh-t off camera, too.

Attached – Charlie at the Sons Of Anarchy Season 6 premiere this weekend.