People: E.L. James, Charlie Hunnam, Dakota Johnson, Katie Couric, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Janelle Monae


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"Fifty Shades of Grey" author E.L. James put it out on Twitter and Universal Pictures made it official today that Charlie Hunnam would play sexy billionaire Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson would portray his young lover, Anastasia Steele, in the film adaptation of the erotic novel.

The erotic tale with elements of bondage and S&M, spawned two sequels, all No. 1 best-sellers, so of course speculation over who would star in the movie has been off the charts. Backlash was immediate because, as the New York Daily News put it -- and as Ben Affleck knows -- fans had already created imaginary casts with favorite actors in mind. In response, co-producer Dana Brunetti tweeted, "There is a lot that goes into casting that isn't just looks. Talent, availability, their desire to do it, chemistry with other actor, etc."

Johnson, the 23-year-old daughter of actors Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, appeared in "The Social Network," which also was produced by Mr. Brunetti and Michael De Luca. Hunnam is the star of the FX drama "Sons of Anarchy" and the summer monster movie "Pacific Rim."

Can't wait for the movie? "SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody" will be at the Byham Theater Sept. 19-21, and "50 Shades! The Musical The Original Parody" will be at Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead Oct. 6.




Talk-show host and news correspondent Katie Couric has a new title: bride to be.

Couric, 56, became engaged Labor Day weekend to John Molner, 50, her boyfriend of nearly two years. Molner proposed to Couric, a widow since her husband, Jay Monahan, died from colon cancer in 1998, at sunset on the beach in East Hampton, N.Y., according to People. Molner is head of mergers and acquisitions at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., based in Chicago.

Couric tweeted: "Yes it's true! So touched by all the kind Tweets & warm wishes-thank you! A great end to the summer & looking fwd to seeing you all Monday!!," referring to the return of her talk show, "Katie."

After the couple attended the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala, Couric told USA Today, "We're having a great time. He's really funny and very successful in his own right." She added that he's "a little more age appropriate," an allusion to previous boyfriend Brooks Perlin, 17 years her junior.

Molner will become stepfather to Couric's two daughters with Monahan, Ellie, 21, and Carrie, 17.




In one of the worst-kept secrets of the coming TV season, Harry Connick Jr. will join Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban as judges on "American Idol" for Season 13.

"I am honored that they've asked me to be a judge this season," Connick said in the Fox network statement. The singer had previously been a mentor on the show. Lopez, a judge during Season 11, tweeted: "#IDOL2014TheRemix."

They replace Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, who announced that they would not be returning. Fox also announced that former judge Randy Jackson will step into the role of in-house mentor for the contestants.




Janelle Monae will sing at the Rebecca Minkoff New York Fashion Week runway show Friday at Lincoln Center as part of "American Express Unstaged," a program that pairs artists of different mediums and makes their collaborations available to the public through digital media, including a live stream of the catwalk.

The Associated Press said Minkoff and CoverGirl model Monae will share behind-the-scenes preparations on Instagram, and during the show, viewers can get an insider perspective through a backstage camera and live photo feed, starting at 3 p.m. Friday.

Monae's new album, "The Electric Lady," will be released Sept. 10.




Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, both five-time Emmy nominees, are the first presenters announced for the 65th primetime Emmy Awards Sept. 22.




Sweden's Princess Madeleine and her husband, New York banker Christopher O'Neill, are expecting their first child in March, the palace announced Tuesday.

Madeleine, the younger sister of Crown Princess Victoria, is third in line to the Swedish throne; Sweden has a constitutional monarchy in which the royals primarily serve as figureheads, People reported.

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