Fifty Shades of Grey Casting

After taking its time finding a director to helm the ship, Universal and Focus are charging full-speed ahead and giving their adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey” an Aug. 1, 2014 release date.

This news comes a week after the two studios named Sam Taylor-Johnson as the pic’s director after a long and thorough search. Universal and Focus also stalled in finding other elements of their adaptation of the popular E.L. James series, including lining up a writer and producers. Those jobs eventually went to Kelly Marcel and Mike De Luca and Dana Brunetti respectively.

After the news broke on Johnson directing, there was instant speculation at whether the slow pace would continue in casting the film’s two leads, but this announcement makes it clear that Universal, Focus and the creative team know what path they want this film to take.

In several interviews in the past year, U Chairman Adam Fogelson has said that the plan was never to rush out the film version and that, despite the slow pace, the film could still bow by summer 2014.

The dating also makes sense. “Fifty Shades of Grey” has a strong female fanbase and will make for good counter programing to the other films set to be released at this time:  “Jupiter Ascending” from Warner Bros.,  MGM’s “Hercules” and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Casting is now underway and while no offers are out to any thesps at this time, sources told Variety that Johnson’s husband, “Kick-Ass 2″ star Aaron Taylor-Johnson, may have been part of those early talks and may have an early edge for the part of Christian Grey.

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