Mark Wahlberg has revealed that he fought and failed to win the film rights to produce the Fifty Shades of Grey film.

The actor-turned-producer expressed frustration at losing out on the opportunity to bring EL James' bondage bestseller to the big screen.

Universal and Focus Features eventually won the rights to the film and Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson have been cast as the film's leads.

Speaking during the Hollywood Reporter's Producers Roundtable, Wahlberg admitted that he almost fired his agent Ari Emanuel when they lost the bidding war to Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti.

"We were aware of the book from very early on, and we were close to securing the rights, and then we get into this bidding war," he said.

"We were so close to having [it]. That was one of the few times I was going to fire Ari."

Wahlberg also revealed that he planned to cast Brad Pitt as kinky businessman Christian Grey after years of being passed over for roles in favour of the veteran leading man.

"I wanted to produce because I was never going to get the script first," he joked. "I had to wait for Brad Pitt to pass."

The 2 Guns star also responded to a joke by De Luca that Christian Grey "looks a lot like Mark Wahlberg", by claiming it "sounds like Brad Pitt to me".

The movie, which will be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, is set to hit cinemas in the US in August 2015.

The storyline follows a young college student as she embarks on a sadomasochistic relationship with an older businessman. It has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide.