‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Movie to be Directed by ‘Nowhere Boy’ Filmmaker

Published 2 years ago by , Updated September 3rd, 2013 at 9:00 am,

Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Universal Focus Features Fifty Shades of Grey Movie to be Directed by Nowhere Boy Filmmaker

More than a few of our readers probably did a double-take, when last we reported that Universal wants the Fifty Shades of Grey movie – based on E.L. James’ Twilight fan-faction-turned best-selling erotic novel – to be directed by a filmmaker with serious arthouse cred, such as Atonement and Anna Karenina director Joe Wright (among other rumored candidates).

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk) is reported to have even submitted a demo reel while bidding for the Fifty Shades directing job; one which featured Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike) playing the handsome, but (really) troubled, 27-year old billionaire Christian Grey, no less. However, James’ steamy book – which, let’s be honest, is almost too easy to mock – is going to be realized on the big screen by another indie cinematic storyteller altogether.

Universal has announced that Sam Taylor-Johnson – who is an award-winning photographer, indie filmmaker, and the wife to actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass 2) – is going to direct the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, based on the adapted script written by Kelly Marcel (who, like the director, is a resident of the UK).

nowhere boy Fifty Shades of Grey Movie to be Directed by Nowhere Boy Filmmaker

The film’s Oscar-nominated co-producer Micahel De Luca (Moneyball) released a formal statement:

“Sam’s unique ability to gracefully showcase complex relationships dealing with love, emotion and sexual chemistry make her the ideal director to bring Christian and Anastasia’s relationship to life,” said De Luca.   “E L James’ characters and vivid storytelling require a director who is willing to take risks and push the envelope where needed and Sam is a natural fit.”

Johnson echoed the sentiment expressed by Marcel – who claims she is quite sincere about doing justice by the Fifty Shades of Grey book and expects that the movie will land an NC-17 Rating – with her own statement on the matter, saying that she intends to “honor the power of Erika’s book and the characters of Christian [Grey] and Anastasia [Steele]. They are under my skin too.”

What’s fascinating about all this is that E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey novel – between its (seemingly) universally-mocked cornball dialogue and souped-up romance storyline that introduces novices to the world of BDSM (i.e. hardcore sex play) – is one of those pop cultural fixations that kind of boggles the mind… and yet, the film adaptation has managed to attract some undeniably strong creative talent.

kick ass1 Fifty Shades of Grey Movie to be Directed by Nowhere Boy Filmmaker

Could Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) play Christian Grey?

Johnson, for instance, was responsible for the well-received young John Lennon biographical pic Nowhere Boy (she met her younger husband while directing him in the film); meanwhile, Marcel co-created Terra Nova and wrote Disney’s upcoming Oscar bait flick, Saving Mr. Banks. Up to now, actresses like Emma Watson have been quick to dismiss any rumors about them even giving consideration to joining the Fifty Shades of Grey movie cast – but will that change, given the talent now involved?

After all, Johnson seems like the kind of director who would make a genuine effort to elevate James’ extra-pulpy source material into high art cinema; that could, in turn, help to snag an up-and-coming actor or actress. Maybe not someone like Arrow‘s Stephen Amell – who revealed a while back that he was approached to play Mr. Grey - but the director’s husband could fit that bill. (Talk about a joke writing itself…)

Then again, all of these same argument could have been made about Oscar-winner Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), when he agreed to direct the final two Twilight movies – and we all saw how that eventually turned out, right?


Fifty Shades of Grey could still reach theaters as soon as Summer 2014, but no official release date has been set yet. As always, we’ll keep you posted on the situation.

Source: Universal

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 Gravatar.com 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. Of course she would…

    • Still think Scott Elrod of Homerun Movie would make a perfect Christian Grey, I’m getting excited just thinking about it, lol

  2. The link to the dialogue samples provided
    my first exposure to what can simply be
    described as embarrassingly bad writing.

    I’ve been warned by writers I respect
    to avoid the books and I have but
    this is far worse than I imagined.

    Add to that the pretense of expected
    titillation from the nature of the story
    I just can’t take this project seriously.

  3. This will be a massive flop unless it has a relatively small budget.

  4. What I read of the book was just awful. I had to see what all the fuss was about. This film will make sh*tloads of money, no matter how bad it is.

  5. I thought jean jacques annaud would have been best suited to direct something like this.

  6. My girlfriend raved about these books but I never bothered to check them out. My understanding is that these are vampire less Twilights with some kinky s*** thrown in? Yeah I’ll skip this unless she drags me to see them.

  7. This is about as interesting as kin kardashian giving birth

    • ..and with equally revolting images.

  8. No not him

  9. This is an interesting choice. She has directed one short, and one feature. Not sure that she’s anyone’s idea of an A-list director. The original material is just awful, so it’s an uphill climb, and I would be very surprised if Universal allows an NC-17 theatrical release. I’m convinced that this could be a career killer for everyone involved. So good luck, Sam, you’ll need it.

  10. This thing doesn’t need a movie.

  11. I am glad it is not Matt Bomer,he does not look sexy nor does he have the BODY to play Christian Grey.
    I thank you for that.
    My choice would have been Chaning Tatum

  12. It’s certain what they’re paying the director is playing a role in Universal’s decision. Beyond this…is she the best choice? Only if she’s not replaced.

  13. I feel like Henry Cavill would be perfect as Christian.

    • I am sure many women would dream to see Henry on such
      a movie but he would never ever consider this nor should he.

    • I’m fairly certain that WB would let hell freeze over before they let their Superman be in a soft core porno for housewives.

  14. I think Jackson Rathbone would be the perfect Christian Grey and Jennifer Lawrence as Anastasia Steele! Rathbone already has the beguiling crooked smile and would look good as a ginger.