There's less than a year to go before Anastasia Steele will be brought to life on the big screen in Fifty Shades of Grey, the erotic romance tale based on the novel (and former Twilight fan fiction) by author E.L. James. After a long search during which many actresses declined the role, Dakota Johnson (The Social Network) eventually agreed to strap in and play young Ms. Steele, but finding her counterpart hasn't been easy either.
In the book, Ana's adventures begin when she meets billionaire Christian Grey, an Adonis with a drawer full of blindfolds and anal plugs, so Universal Pictures and Focus Features needed to track down just the right talented hunk to play this physically perfect but emotionally distant man. For a short while Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam was set to play the part, but earlier this month he dropped out and left the studio scrambling to find a replacement before filming begins.
The first of these two goals was accomplished recently, with Once Upon a Time star Jamie Dornan stepping into Mr. Grey's shoes, but the casting troubles have impacted upon Fifty Shades of Grey's schedule. The movie was originally scheduled to begin shooting in early November, but THR reports that the start of filming has now been pushed back to December 2nd. This leaves the studio with less than eight months to complete the film in time for its August 1st, 2014 release date - a tall order considering the average time between the start of production and the release of a movie is about a year.
The extra month before filming isn't just being used for rehearsals and further casting, however; according to TheWrap, veteran action movie screenwriter Mark Bomback (The Wolverine) has been hired to polish the script for Fifty Shades of Grey, which was originally penned by Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr Banks). I'm far too polite to make any comments about certain things that you can't polish, so instead let's just say that Bomback's involvement neither raises nor diminishes my interest in this project.
At this points it's still unclear whether or not Fifty Shades of Grey will turn out to be a decent movie, but it certainly has the potential to be a very, very funny movie, especially if the writers retain some of the dialogue from the book and include Ana's internal monologue in the form of a voiceover from Johnson (or maybe Gilbert Gottfried). In the worst case scenario it could turn out to be downright disturbing, as some members of the BDSM community have condemned the novel for creating an inaccurate and downright dangerous picture of a sado-masochistic relationship.
If Fifty Shades of Grey does stick with its current release date, then it will end up squaring off against Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy movie. This will probably be the first time in history that a talking raccoon has gone head-to-head with softcore BDSM porn.
Fifty Shades of Grey is currently set for release on August 1st, 2014.