The mega-bestselling book series Fifty Shades of Grey took an infamously convoluted path to publication. Originally, the three Grey novels appeared online as a twisted, fan-fiction version of Twilight titled “Master of the Universe.” When E.L. James managed to transform these popular stories into multimillion-selling published novels, Hollywood definitely sat up and took notice.
With a movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Gray in full swing, it looks as if others are trying to take advantage of the sex-laden series’ momentum. On the same day as its official release, Constanin Films has purchased the film rights to Beautiful Bastard, another novel derived from a popular piece of Twilight fan fiction.
Widely released just yesterday, Beautiful Bastard is an erotic novel by Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings (published under the combined pen name of Christina Lauren). The book apparently charts the sexual relationship between MBA Chloe Mills and her unpleasant (but hot and oh-so-rich) boss, Bennett Ryan. Bastard was originally published on the Internet by Hobbs as a loose Twilight fan fiction piece titled “The Office.” After “The Office” began garnering literal millions of hits, Hobbs decided to remove it from the Internet and combine forces with Billings to convert the story into an original work. A sequel, entitled Beautiful Stranger, is due out in May of this year.
It’s difficult to see the acquisition of Beautiful Bastard as anything but an attempt to jump on Fifty Shades of Grey‘s gravy train before it inevitably runs its course. In one of the strangest cultural ironies of our era, Fifty Shades of Grey has inspired the same kind of rush on its genre (supposedly female-centric erotica, with emphasis on bondage and weird power dynamics) as Twilight did for supernatural romance. This holds as true for movies and television as it did for literature; even now, various Hollywood entities are scrambling to pump out supernatural romance properties in the aftermath of Twilight‘s finale.
Does the acquisition of Beautiful Bastard foretell the same kind of cycle for adaptations of kinky erotica? The real bellwether of that question will be the success of the Fifty Shades of Grey film. If Universal manages to overcome audiences’ resistance to overtly sexual cinema, the floodgates may open and Beautiful Bastard will only be the first movie to ride in Grey‘s wake.
Beautiful Bastard has just recently been released as a novel, so it will probably be quite a while before a film adaptation will enter production. Keep your eyes peeled to Screen Rant for all the juicy details.