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Mila Kunis emerges as frontrunner for Fifty Shades of Grey lead

Mila Kunis in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan

Mila Kunis has emerged as the frontrunner for the lead female role of Anastasia Steele in the film adaption of Fifty Shades of Grey.

The 26-year-old actress – best known for her role in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan –  has moved to the top of the list of actresses being considered to play the naïve female lead, who becomes lured into an S&M lifestyle by older billionaire Christian Grey.

But competition is heated for a role that may prove to be career-defining. British actress Emma Watson and actress Kristen Stewart, both of whom have known commercial value due to their association with behemoth franchises Harry Potter and Twilight, are also vying for a part in E.L. James’ bestseller.

Ryan Gosling and Ian Somerhalder are competing to play Christian Grey.

Meanwhile, little known screenwriter Kelly Marcel – who was executive producer of cancelled TV sci-fi drama Terra Nova – has been chosen to write the script for Universal and Focus Features’ release, with The Social Network producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti also on board.

Brunetti said: “We were all taken with the depth and passion of Kelly’s engagement with the characters and world E.L. James has created and we knew she was the right person to augment our Fifty Shades family.”

De Luca said: “Kelly’s work demonstrates her flawless structural technique and passionate commitment to emotion, humour and depth of character, which is particularly visible in the celebrated screenplay for the upcoming ‘Saving Mr. Banks’.”

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