The Fifty Shades of Grey book trilogy’s success is fascinating, in terms of how it (quite literally) originated as erotic Twilight fan-fiction. That is, before author E.L. James tweaked the narrative and character elements and published it as a work of sexploitation for adult readers (as opposed to Stepheneie Meyer’s soapy coming of age/supernatural romance source material for tweens).

Universal Pictures scooped up the movie rights last year – carefully dancing around the sexually explicit subject matter within its official confirmation – and was quick to hire screenwriter Kelly Marcel to adapt the book, but has since announced nothing save for chairman Adam Fogelson saying it could be arriving in theaters as soon as Summer 2014. No surprise, the absence of information has fed rumors about who’s playing the female lead, Anastasia Steele.

Harry Potter alum Emma Watson is current a heavily-rumored candidate for that role (emphasis on RUMORED), thanks to documents listing her as “attached” to the project. The leak resulted from hackers breaking into the internal server for the German studio Constantin Films, prompting Universal to issue an official statement (via USA Today) that “No one has been cast yet.” So, yeah, we can lay this rumor to rest for the time being.

UPDATE: See For Yourself.

… Then again, since we’re talking about it: would it even make sense for Watson to accept a role like this? And can a Fifty Shades of Grey movie be anything but a bad joke taken way too far?

Logan Lerman and Emma Watson in ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’

Marcel is not a “name” screenwriter right now, but she is the creator of the defunct sci-fi television series Terra Nova and scripted Disney’s forthcoming Saving Mr. Banks (which may become an awards contender when it opens in December). She has also made it known that her Fifty Shades of Grey script is not going to be just some artistically-bankrupt and trashy romance cash grab, saying:

“Regardless of what you may think of [James’] writing, this is a modern love story, involving two complex characters, and that’s what I’m interested in. You have to work at it and talk about s— and figure it out, regardless of what that s— may be. I don’t care what anybody says, there is something about Christian [Grey] that is old-fashioned and romantic.”

Watson is transitioning into the adult stage of her career, following her turn in last year’s bittersweet-nostalgic high school look-back The Perks of Being a Wallflower with roles in the apocalyptic raunch-com This Is the End and Oscar-winner Sofia Coppola’s crime-drama The Bling Ring (as well as Darren Aronofsky’s Noah in 2014). Point being, if she were to decide that Marcel’s Fifty Shades script truly is a worthwhile love story for grown-ups – and a respectable director were to sign on and lend the whole project more credibility – then the prospect of Watson agreeing to play Miss Steele wouldn’t be so mind-boggling – dare we say, it might even be somewhat appropriate (given her other post-HP role selections to date)?

How about it, then – can you fathom someone with acting cred like Watson signing on for Fifty Shades of Grey? Could the movie prove to be this generation’s Basic Instinct – or just the new Showgirls? Let us know what you think in the comments section (and please, keep it civil).

Source: USA Today