It’s been a couple of weeks since we heard about Universal’s short list of directors for Fifty Shades Darker, the second film in their Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Today, it’s being reported that the studio has formally made an offer to their top pick, House of Cards and Glengarry Glen Ross director James Foley.
Fifty Shades of Grey has nearly $570 million in worldwide ticket sales, an enormous amount of anticipation for its two sequels, and an impressive collection of designer ties, whips, and riding crops. What it doesn’t have is a director for the next Fifty Shades film, Fifty Shades Darker, which is supposed to open in theaters in a year and a half, but is still searching for a filmmaker to replace Sam Taylor-Johnson. She left the franchise after not seeing eye-to-eye with Fifty Shades author E.L. James about the direction of the franchise.
If you head on over to iTunes to purchase and download Fifty Shades of Grey, you’ll receive an extra gift: an alternate ending to the film, which originally ended somewhat abruptly on a down note. The new ending isn’t so much an alternate version as it is an additional one, which is a bit more hopeful and teases the reunion of Anastasia and Christian in the sequel.
Just yesterday, THR reported on a conversation with Universal executive Donna Langley, who revealed that the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey sequel is “more of a thriller.” The first teaser, as promised, has arrived, and in keeping with the Fifty Shades Darker title, it definitely looks…darker? It’s certainly a little ominous.
Just yesterday it was reported that Fifty Shades trilogy author E.L. James has hired her husband, fellow author Niall Leonard, to write the screenplay for Fifty Shades Darker. Now that a screenwriter has been set for the first sequel (and, if things go well, possibly the next one), Universal is starting to solidify their plans for the remaining films in the franchise. The studio has announced release dates for both sequels, with stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson expected to return.
Chances are, if you weren’t familiar with Jamie Dornan before Fifty Shades of Grey, you were left with a deeply unimpressed feeling about the actor and his performance in that film. But if you’re a fan of his work on the UK series The Fall, you know he’s got some serious chops when given the right material. And it seems like his next project has the potential to provide the right material, pairing him with Cillian Murphy in a WWII thriller.
Based on the best-selling novel by E.L. James, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ comes with its baggage packed and our expectations loaded. James’ source material is, inarguably, poorly-written, with nearly-to-entirely offensive characterizations of both its leading lady and the kink community. But ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ pulls off the seemingly impossible, elevating James’ material to something more nuanced and human. And that’s largely due to the performance of Dakota Johnson, who carries the weight of all that baggage and our expectations on her back, so to speak.
Christian Grey is an unusual guy. He’s the world’s most eligible billionaire bachelor and an enormously powerful businessman. He’s an avid jogger, an exceptional piano player, and a licensed helicopter pilot. He also really like the color gray. He wears gray suits and ties, drives a gray car to his gray office building (which is called Grey House) under gray Seattle skies, where his assistant dresses in—you guessed it—gray. (For the record, his office chairs are white but the couches are gray too.) And, oh yeah, he’s into kinky sex, including bondage, spanking, and domination.
It doesn’t matter if the film’s press tour is going badly, or if stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson possibly have no chemistry whatsoever (or compared shooting sex scenes together to arduous, uncomfortable work). ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is going to be an enormous hit when it opens this weekend regardless, and in this climate, enormous hits get sequels whether earned or demanded or not.
‘50 Shades of Grey’ doesn’t hit theaters until February 13, but Universal is already looking out for you in the future. They really just want to make sure you’re happy, you know? With that in mind, the studio has announced that the ‘50 Shades’ sequels, based on the novel trilogy by E.L. James, are already in the works.