“Terranova” co-creator Kelly Marcel has been tapped to pen “Fifty Shades of Grey” for Universal and Focus Features.
Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti will produce the film based on E L James’ tome alongside James.
“Kelly’s work demonstrates her flawless structural technique and passionate commitment to emotion, humor and depth of character which is particularly visible in the celebrated screenplay for the upcoming ‘Saving Mr. Banks,'” said De Luca.
Universal Pictures and Focus Features acquired the rights to the three books in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy in March of this year in one of the more heated bidding wars in recent years. Focus Features will market and distribute the first film in partnership with Universal.
Since acquiring those rights, Universal and Focus have been working on figuring out what they want the project to look like.
Prior to De Luca and Brunetti coming on board, a handful of producers met over several months before they were picked and a similar amount of time was taken in selecting a writer.
Sources tell Variety that while some men were considered, Universal and Focus were looking for a femme scribe. Other writers considered included “The Killing” scribe/exec producer Veena Sud, “Game of Thrones” scribe Vanessa Taylor and “Weeds” creator Jenji Kohan.
It’s not surprising the producers were considering mainly TV writers, given a deeper bench of women working on the smallscreen.
Besides “Terranova,” the WME-repped Marcel also penned Disney’s Mary Poppins backstory pic “Saving Mr. Banks,” which is currently in production and stars Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.