This year’s Valentine’s Day might see hearts and chocolates going out of fashion as erotic novel adaptation Fifty Shades of Grey opens the doors of its “play room” and introduces audiences to the world of bondage, whips and sex contracts. The film is based on E.L. James’ best-selling book series and stars Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele, a shy young English major who becomes sexually and romantically entangled with aloof billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).
Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy), Fifty Shades of Grey is something of a rarity, since overtly erotic romance films don’t often get big releases. Titles that boast very explicit sex scenes, like Blue is the Warmest Color and Nymphomaniac, tend to be rewarded with prestige rather than box office since their MPAA rating (NC-17 for both of those films) is a major roadblock to commercial viability. Fifty Shades of Grey‘s R rating is a little kinder, but without its large existing fanbase it’s unlikely that an adaptation of this scale would ever have been made.
In the lead up to Fifty Shades of Grey‘s release, NBC is unveiling new clips from the movie that showcase the ins and outs of Ana and Christian’s growing bond. The source material’s original status as a Twilight fan fiction really bleeds through in these clips, as Johnson plays the part of the clumsy, shy, stuttering young woman and Dornan practices being sardonic and stoic in equal measure. It looks like we’re in for a lot of heavy breathing, awkward conversation and nervous eye contact before anyone takes their pants off.
The second clip is particularly funny because it could quite easily be planted in the first act of a horror movie and still make perfect sense. It would be nice to think that Christian just wants those cable ties to help organize the various devices connected to his desktop, but he probably wouldn’t look so happy about shopping for them if that were the case.
In the first clip the romance is a little more traditional, as Christian Grey seems completely enthralled by the nervous but bold young student who comes to interview him, so much so that he cancels his next appointment to prolong their first “date.” Ah, innocent young love.
Fifty Shades of Grey premieres February 13th, 2015.