The Ninjabot

FIFTY SHADES Author Wants to Write the Sequels Screenplays

Posted on February 19, 2015 at 2:49 pm by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

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Most would agree that Fifty Shades of Grey was not a good movie. The movie was plagued with an awful performance by James Dornan, and a muddled theme and pace that may have been a result of the backstage tension between director Sam Taylor-Johnson and the author of the novel E.L. James. With those huge deficits, Dakota Johnson was pretty great in the role of Ana, and there were times when it felt like director Sam Taylor-Johnson was trying to dig into the troubling gender roles and underlying issue of emotional abuse that permeates Ana and Christina’s relationship. The culprit for this mess could be the source material, which isn’t particularly strong to begin with and appears to sidestep some really serious issues in the central relationship in an effort to get to the dirty parts.

So what does Universal Pictures and Focus Features have planned for the sequel? Well it might entail giving author E.L. James even more creative control over the material. The Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation already began with an unprecedented amount of creative input from the author, and that resulted in a highly contentious production, during which James and Taylor-Johnson squabbled over how best to bring the book to the screen. Taylor-Johnson, it appears, was interested in veering away from the source material to bring fifty-shades-of-grey-poster-tie-378x600something deeper to the movie. James was not having any of it.

Now, on the heels of a massive opening weekend, Universal and Focus are turning their attention to the second book in the trilogy, Fifty Shades DarkerVariety reports that neither Taylor-Johnson nor screenwriter Kelly Marcel are likely to be back for the sequel (apparently James and Marcel fell out after the latter penned the first draft), and the delay in getting the follow-up together is due to arguments between James and the studios. James reportedly wants to write the script for Fifty Shades Darker herself, and Universal is resistant to the idea. The studio’s apprehension is understandable given that A. James is unfamiliar with Hollywood, B. Has never written a script before, and C. Is only a newly established author, creating her Fifty trilogy out of her own Twilight fan-fiction.

The arguments between James and the studio are holding up production, which means filming might not get underway until early 2016, meaning the sequel wouldn’t arrive until late 2016 or early 2017. This is rare in a climate dominated by quickly-produced sequels, but that’s what happens when you sign over an insane amount of creative control to the source material’s author.

fifty-shades-of-grey-jamie-dornan1-600x400Apparently James held up the production of Fifty Shades of Grey when she disagreed with Taylor-Johnson’s vision. Given James’ contract, the director and producers were literally unable to circumvent her, and so everything had to be hashed out rather than the director simply moving on.

It’s unclear what’s going to happen, but I’d say that production of Fifty Shades Darker will be contentious at best. Even if James doesn’t get to pen the script, the studio is gonna have a hell of a time finding a respectable director to sign on to a project so steepled in creative control drama. No doubt every filmmaker in town is now aware that James is the one calling the shots, so signing a director that values his or her artistic freedom will be mighty difficult.

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