Joe Wright Rumored to Direct the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Movie [Updated]

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 13th, 2013 at 10:38 am,

joe wright fifty shades grey movie Joe Wright Rumored to Direct the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie [Updated]

Most people are probably still wondering how a Fifty Shades of Grey movie is going to be feasible – without making significant compromises to the sexually-explicit content of author E.L. James’ Twilight fan-fiction-turned literary best-seller – however, we’re starting to learn more about who will be taking on the challenge (or, rather, working to overcome that problem).

Arrow lead Stephen Amell has admitted to meeting Universal and Focus Features executives, about the Fifty Shades male lead role of the billionaire with a dark side, Christian Grey. More recently, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) was reported to have shot a demo reel featuring Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike) as Mr. Grey, in a bid to secure the directing job.

However, according to the latest THR exclusive, the current front-runner to direct the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is artsy British filmmaker Joe Wright. The site cautions that no official deal is in place, nor should Wright be considered a lock at this point in time. Moreover, studio heads are either looking at or have previously set their eyes on similar directors with a strong critical reputation; that includes Bennett Miller (Moneyball) and Patty Jenkins (Monster), in addition to Van Sant.

[UPDATE: Deadline is reporting that Wright is out of the running for the Fifty Shades of Grey directing job, due to a schedule conflict.]

Now, the idea that Wright – the director of prestigious literature adaptations like Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, and Anna Karenina - would have any interest in taking on the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, probably seems ridiculous to many (most?) people. Nonetheless, screenwriter Kelly Marcel has said her intention is to craft James’ pulpy, erotic, source material into a provocative and emotionally-complex cinematic love story for adults (one that could end up Rated NC-17) – and that, frankly, sounds like the sort of challenging project that the ambitious Wright could be willing to try his hand at.

joe wright keira knightley fifty shades grey Joe Wright Rumored to Direct the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie [Updated]

Joe Wright and Keira Knightley filming ‘Pride & Prejudice’

Similarly, Wright has proven to be a talented storyteller, whose films to date have all featured well-rounded female protagonists (save for The Soloist) who struggle with very mature concerns of the heart, especially the conflict between physical desire and emotional need. That makes him a compelling candidate to elevate the more trashy material in Fifty Shades of Grey – involving Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey’s BDSM (Bondage & Discipline/Dominance & Submission/Sadism & Masochism) play in the bedroom – and turn in into, well… high art.

On that note, when the rumors about Emma Watson playing Miss Steele began to circulate, we pointed out that having “a respectable director” could be the key to secure a lead actress of similar talent-level (easy folks, we’re talking about acting capabilities here). If Wright signs on, then his go-to leading lady Keira Knightley would be the obvious choice, in part because she has played progressively complex women in every film that she and Wright have made together – and has even been rumored for the role of Miss Steele in the past – hence, Fifty Shades of Grey would be an opportunity to continue that trend.


Fifty Shades of Grey could arrive in theaters as early as Summer 2014, so we’ll keep you posted on the situation as more information becomes available.

Source: THR

Update Source: Deadline

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. If they get Wright, and then maybe Keira, then that elevates this project.
    I have not read the books, which I recall encompass a trilogy, and
    I am not sure if this covers book one or all three in this movie.

    If Wright does get this and a top actress, specially Keira,
    I would see this based upon their previous track record.

    • Don’t read the books, they are terribly written. I downloaded the audio book version of the first novel to listen to on my long commutes and couldn’t get through the first half.

      To be honest, I don’t think I even made it to any of the “good parts”.

      • Thanks for the heads up, Jason. Much appreciated.
        Like you, when the writing is bad, I stop reading.
        No matter how much the book might have cost.

    • Keira already flat out said it out in an interview that she will never play this role.

      • All bets are off if Joe Wright is to direct this.
        She loves working with him and a flat out no
        immediately would become at least a maybe.

  2. Keira is way too old based on what I heard about the female protagonist

    • Ridiculous statement. Keira Knightley is only 28 years old. Playing a 21 year old isn’t a big stretch at all.

      • How is that a ridiculous statement? How could she pass for an innocent looking virginal college student? Are you kidding me?

        They need someone like Emma Watson, Nina Dobrev, Elizabeth Olsen, etc.

        Stfu my dude.

        • “innocent looking virginal college student?”

          You ask the impossible. LOL

          • Lmao. True that.

  3. Wright has an eye for female talent no matter
    whom he would choose should he do this.
    There has been quite a lovely collection
    of women he has used in his movies.

    • I’m so sick of this movie being planned. I really do like Joe Wright, but I’ll be damned if he decides to adapt this piece of crap of a book with Keira Knightley involved.

      • I was not paying attention to this but Joe Wright got my attention.
        It will be interesting to see how this plays out on whether he does this.

  4. Hey ScreenRant. Can you do us all a favor and never write another article about 50 Shades of S***.

  5. No! Shut up everyone! Emma Watson in this role needs to happen! stop trying to kill my dreams

  6. Why would people shell out 10-15 bucks to see this in the theater when there one google search away from finding the same kind of content with a better story and writing for free?

  7. I hope to Gawd they shoot in Imax & 3d this movie is our only chance to see a 70 foot 3D vagina.

    • Of hopefully Emma Watson. Which will not happen, but a man can dream.

  8. I think ian somerhalder as cristian grey and an unknown female for miss steele should be the way forward certainly not keira knightley im not fan of hers.