With the long-awaited and provocative Fifty Shades of Grey trailer rearing its dirty little head this week, fans of the best-selling novel are fit to be tied in anticipation of the film’s release in February of 2015. Jamie Dornan, the former model-turned-actor will portray the preposterously hunky, tremendously kinky, and disgustingly wealthy Christian Grey who shows a guileless young woman the ropes in relation to carnal knowledge. But Jamie was not the first choice for this role of a lifetime; indeed, Sons of Anarchy heartthrob Charlie Hunnam was originally cast to fasten and bind the charmingly innocent Anastasia Steele played by Hollywood pedigree Dakota Johnson. Charlie dropped out of the film, not because of creative differences or salary disputes; no, he bailed because he said he had “Something of a nervous breakdown.”

“I was going to finish ‘Sons’ at like eleven p.m. Friday night, get on the plane Saturday morning to Vancouver for ‘Fifty,’ missing the whole first week of rehearsal and start shooting Monday morning,” Charlie said. “And I was going to shoot that film, wrap that on the Wednesday and the following Monday I was going to start shooting Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Crimson Peak’ in Toronto.”

It seems ridiculously intense scheduling obligations along with enormous box-office expectations of Fifty Shades of Grey proved to be too much for the avowed Harley Davidson enthusiast.

“I just said ‘I can’t’ … to fail on such a grand scale,” Hunnam recalled. “‘Fifty’s’ going to be massive; it’s going to be huge. I really didn’t want to fail on such a grand scale, and I just couldn’t transition from [the role of ‘Sons of Anarchy’s] Jax Teller to Christian Grey in 48 hours. I bit off more than I could chew, and it was painful. I loved the character, and I wanted to do it.”

Imagine a role of a lifetime coming your way, and then you have to turn it down. That’s got to be heartbreaking. But every actor knows the way in which he or she works, and the amount of time it takes to shift in and out of roles.

Heavy scheduling demands don’t seem to stop some actors from taking on outrageous challenges. Benedict Cumberbatch, for example, appeared in five films in 2013 (Star Trek: Into the Darkness, 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County, The Fifth Estate as well as playing the voice of the fearsome dragon Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)–and he received Oscar nominations for all but one of them. He also was filming for the biopic of code-breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, and other projects he was working on included the new series of Sherlock, and Hamlet on stage. His insane scheduling once had him declare, “I’m all right, I mean, I’m unemployed at the moment…” when he’d been unemployed for two days!

But not many can boast Cumberbatch’s extreme echelons of adaptability. Many actors might just be pushed over sanity’s edge by taking on so much work in such a short time span. You, yourself, are an actor with great dreams and goals and ambitions. And it’s just as important for you as it is for Charlie Hunnam to be mindful of the projects you embark upon, and how you use your time. As a professional, you need to be respectful of your personal work pace, and likewise be ready to be challenged to push yourself beyond your comfort zone with unbridled courage–and know which is right for you in any given instance.

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