Bonding over bondage! Less than one week after announcing the controversial casting of Dakota Johnson (as Anastasia Steele) and Charlie Hunnam (as Christian Grey) for the leads for the upcoming film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, author E.L. James spent some quality time with Johnson in NYC on Sunday, Sept. 8.
The pair was joined by producer Dana Brunetti, and the threesome looked thrilled to be soaking in the fall weather together on the streets of New York.
"The beautiful, talented, funny as feck, Dakota Johnson. Oh and that bloke Dana Brunetti," James captioned the snapshot, in which she and Brunetti sandwiched the 23-year-old actress in a large floppy black hat.
Both James and Brunetti have had to come to the defense of their casting decision this past week after fans of the erotic romance trilogy flooded the Internet with negative comments and even a petition to replace Hunnam and Johnson with Matt Bomer and Alexis Bledel.
"There is a lot that goes into casting that isn't just looks," Brunetti tweeted on Monday, Sept. 2. "Talent, availability, their desire to do it, chemistry with other actor, etc. So if your favorite wasn't cast, then it is most likely due to something on that list. Keep that in mind while hating and keep perspective."
James took a more positive approach to the criticism, thanking fans for their continued support. "To all the supporters, lovers and haters -- thank you so much for the passion that you have for this project. You all rock. All of you."
Even if some of the book's fans aren't so enthusiastic about the leads, however, there is one man who is -- 33-year-old Hunnam, who will take on the role of sexy, enigmatic Christian Grey.
"I met with [director] Sam Taylor-Johnson a couple of times. She'd asked to meet me and we talked at length about the role, the movie and what her intention was," he told Us at the Sons of Anarchy sixth season premiere at the Dolby Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 7. "I felt really intrigued and excited about it so I went and read the first book to get a clearer idea of who this character was, and I felt even more excited at the prospect of bringing him to life."