Alessandro Proto: The Real Christian Grey?

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Italian businessman Alessandro Proto claims he is the inspiration behind Christian Grey, the male lead in E.L. James' trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey.

Proto met the British author in 2010 when James was touring Italy writing about international celebrities snapping up properties in the country.

A. Proto

"The firm Grey runs in the book is called Grey Enterprise Holding. Mine is called Proto Organization Holding," the 39-year-old told New York Daily News.

"When I met E.L. James I used to drive a R8 Audi."

Christian Grey, who will be played by Jamie Dornan on screen, famously drives an Audi R8 Spyder and also purchases Anastasia Steele an Audi A3.

The former encyclopedia salesman, who may make a cameo in the film, also noted that the top floor location of his office was used in the book.

"My office is located at the 8th floor. It is the highest in the building. I came from nothing, so I see top floors as a metaphor for achievement and success."

That scene has been immortalized already in the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie poster, showing Christian staring out from the top of his office building.

Fifty Shades of Grey Poster

"Everyone knows he made it, but nobody knows how he reached success. Same with me," he said of Christian and himself, and he goes on to add:

"Christian Grey also doesn't like speaking to reporters," which leads to speculation about the man and "builds up a mystery that surrounds him."

One place where the two are not alike, however, is the bedroom. In that respect, Fifty Shades is the pure Twilight fan fiction it's sometimes described as.

"Everything that has to do with S&M is pure imagination, I assure you. I'm an old fashioned man when it comes to sex, I'm not into that kind of fantasies," he said.

Hopefully Christian doesn't follow in Alessandro Proto's financial footsteps.

He was reportedly arrested on Valentine's Day last year on charges of manipulating the financial market. Granted parole, it will be served up on Valentine's Day 2015.

The same weekend Fifty Shades of Grey hits theaters, oddly enough.

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