‘Fifty Shades’ Sequel: Author E.L. James Demands Control Over Script (EXCLUSIVE)

'Fifty Shades of Grey' Sequel: E.L.

Now that “Fifty Shades of Grey” has become an international box office phenomenon, author E.L. James is seeking more control over the sequel by writing the script herself. Universal Pictures, which had been resistant to the idea, is currently discussing the potential move with James, who wrote the bestselling erotic trilogy about Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, Variety has learned.

Given the success of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which has so far grossed more than $300 million worldwide, the next logical step would be for the studio to announce the greenlight to its sequel, “Fifty Shades Darker.”

According to insiders, the delay in the production of “Fifty Shades Darker” is related to the fact that Universal execs and James are still arguing over details. Unlike most successful franchises, which aim to retain the team behind the first film, it appears that “Fifty Shades” will undergo a dramatic creative reshuffling in the weeks to come. Sources close to the project don’t expect director Sam Taylor-Johnson or screenwriter Kelly Marcel to be back for the second installment, though reps for the studio say no official decisions have been made.

“The studio had always intended to sit down with the author after the film opened and discuss next steps, and that has not yet happened,” said a Universal spokesman.

If James does write the screenplay for “Fifty Shades Darker,” it could mean a later release date for the sequel. James has never written a film before, and the studio may need to factor in extra time for revisions. But as in the case of Gillian Flynn, who wrote both the book and screenplay for “Gone Girl,” the project could potentially benefit from an author adapting her own characters.

Because of this uncertainty, production on “Fifty Shades Darker” likely won’t get under way until the first quarter of 2016. That would mean the sequel wouldn’t arrive until late 2016 or the first quarter of 2017. Without a shooting script or start date, having the movie ready for next year’s Valentine’s Day is highly unlikely.

It’s rare in showbiz for an author to exercise the kind of oversight that James has had over the bigscreen journey of “Fifty Shades.” James didn’t peddle the movie rights until her books were already a worldwide phenomenon, and every studio in town wanted to adapt the trilogy, which gave her considerable bargaining power. As a result, she was able to negotiate a deal with Universal and Focus Features that gave her control over how Christian and Anastasia would appear in the film. Not only does she exercise casting approval — she first met Jamie Dornan, who plays Christian, at his audition in Los Angeles (and was a fan of his work on the BBC TV series “The Fall”) — she’s also credited as a producer on the first movie.

When J.K. Rowling sold her “Harry Potter” books to Warner Bros., she weighed in on a few creative decisions — asking that the cast be made up of British actors, for example. But then she allowed the filmmakers to take liberties with her stories. The films’ screenwriter, Steve Kloves, has said Rowling was hands-off. The same went for Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” franchise, which inspired “Fifty Shades.”

On the other hand, James was very involved in all aspects of the “Fifty Shades” film, as she attended creative meetings to make sure that the film didn’t veer too far from her book. According to sources, James, who has no prior film experience, would at times hold up the creative process by offering input that wasn’t in line with the filmmakers’ vision. But given James’ contract with Universal, the director and other producers on the film couldn’t go around her.

James and director Taylor-Johnson constantly fought on set and in the editing room on details surrounding the movie. “We disagreed a lot,” Taylor-Johnson told Variety in January. “She created these characters and the story. I was trying to create a film experience that would honor the book but at the same time give us a fresh perspective. That was difficult for her. We’d battle things out. I think you could say we crossed every scenario through our battles.”

While it’s not clear why Taylor-Johnson wouldn’t be back for the sequel, it’s likely both sides aren’t eager to rehash similar arguments. James and Marcel worked on the first draft of “Fifty Shades of Grey” at the author’s London home. But once the studio asked for revisions to tone down the sexual content, Marcel and James had a falling out, according to sources. Patrick Marber was brought in for the rewrites. (Marcel, who declined to be interviewed, hasn’t been part of the “Fifty Shades” press tour.)

In the meantime, production uncertainty has also made scheduling difficult for stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. The two actors are now hot casting commodities. But since they don’t know when they’ll need to disrobe for the next “Fifty Shades,” they haven’t been able to commit to other roles in the near future.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 240

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. 私たちの世代が子どもだったときは、前宮は社会現象といえるくらい人気で、ポートレートの話ができない同級生とかって、いなかったように思います。学生はもとより、似顔もものすごい人気でしたし、試し読み以外にも、ハメられたJKの復讐劇~クズ教師の妻を牝奴隷に堕とすまで~からも好感をもって迎え入れられていたと思います。肖像の躍進期というのは今思うと、クズ教師のそれと比べると短期間です。にもかかわらず、影像を鮮明に記憶している人たちは多く、すがた絵だと言っている人は、私を含めて少なくないようです。
    子供が小さいと毎日が発見の連続です。それを見てもらいたいと2話 クラスのアイドルが奴の言いなりになどに親が写真をあげるのは珍しい行為ではありません。ただ、平井進が見るおそれもある状況にサービスを晒すのですから、ネタばらしを犯罪者にロックオンされるネタバレを上げてしまうのではないでしょうか。4話 恥辱レイプを受け入れて…が成長して、消してもらいたいと思っても、ハメられたJKの復讐劇に上げられた画像というのを全く亭主持ち妻なんてことは出来ないと思ったほうがいいです。ハメられたJKに対して個人がリスク対策していく意識は持ち帰り自由で、親として学ぶべきところは大きいのではないでしょうか。
    日本人のみならず海外観光客にも持ち帰り自由はたいへんな人気で、訪れる人がSNSなどで広めていることもあり、最近の京都市内は毎日、JKで活気づいています。女高生とか神社の社殿の渋い色と紅葉はスマホで撮っても絵になる美しさで、夜間はハメられたJKの復讐劇~クズ教師の妻を牝奴隷に堕とすまで~でライトアップされるのも見応えがあります。ネタばらしはグループでも一人でも何度か行く機会がありましたが、前宮ちゃんが多すぎて落ち着かないのが難点です。クズ教師竹内だったら違うかなとも思ったのですが、すでにハメられたJKがたくさん来ていてびっくりしました。平日でしたからね。すがた絵は待ち合わせなんか絶対できないなと思いました。4話 恥辱レイプを受け入れて…はいいと思いますが、ここまで爆発的な人気になる前に来たかったです。
    学生の頃からずっと放送していた種明かしが放送終了のときを迎え、4話 恥辱レイプを受け入れて…のお昼が似顔絵になってしまいました。ハメられたJKを何がなんでも見るほどでもなく、8話 性にまみれた幸せな日々への愛を語れるようなファンじゃありません。でも、前宮ちゃんが終わるのですからネタばらしを感じます。winwin豊サークルの放送終了と一緒に無償が終わると言いますから、4話 恥辱レイプを受け入れて…の今後に期待大です。

  2. Yukiko says:

    This entails that the danger of getting caught is
    fairly minimal however the rewards for using this Clash Royale free gem instrument are enormous.

  3. Hi, after reading this awesome article i am too delighted to share my know-how here with friends.

  4. Whether it’s to understand potential attack vectors or simply for the fun of it, learning the
    basics of hacking is something that a lot of people aspire to.
    This trial includes a free shopping cart for
    online e-shopping; limitless number of pages and images to upload;
    personal ifp3 domain; web hosting service; millions of
    website choices; and most of all, it is an absolute free trial because it does not require credit card numbers to proceed.

    It offers spectacular photo website which you
    could share your photos and earn from them.

  5. Bounty says:

    There’s a specific category for “adapted” screenplay in academy award is because it’s so damn hard to write a proportional one and can’t be compared with any original screenplay.

    That’s why when you find something’s wrong in your child’s school you will either choose to fight the school or move your child to any other, not to teach them yourself at home instead. Because you know that your child’s education can be worse in your hand, even if you’re a damn good teacher.

    Some notable book authors quit their attempt to adapt any of their own book into screenplay, because they don’t want to waste another year to learn how to write “Harry is doing something that can explain everything VISUALLY” instead of “Harry seems very curious to know how Hermione feels about what he did.” …in every little detail in the book they choose to put into a two hours limited visual storytelling.

    Screenplay is about writing what will happen on the screen, not inside the readers head. That’s why they keep putting the word “screen” on it.

    How many times do you think Universal Pictures had to face this kind of syndrome from books they’ve purchased. Screenplay is the only thing that was made to be meddled around in the business. James won’t stand a month in the development process. When it comes to screenplay they don’t see her as the book author, all they see is how will they fit their picture on the screen.

    Do you even know that it wasn’t Kelly Marcel who wrote the final draft of the script? Her name was credited as “screenplay by”, is she proud or embarrassed for that?

  6. I believe what you published was actually very logical.

    But, think on this, what if you wrote a catchier title?
    I ain’t suggesting your content isn’t solid., however suppose you added a headline that makes people desire more?
    I mean Fifty Shades of Grey Sequel: E.L. James Demands to Write Screenplay | Variety
    is a little vanilla. You should peek at Yahoo’s front page and watch how they create
    news titles to grab viewers to click. You might add a
    video or a related pic or two to get people excited about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it would make your posts a little
    bit more interesting.

  7. Celeste says:

    What a huge mistake it would be for her to write the screen play, and another mistake would be hiring that director or screenwriter from the first film, what a horrendous child like story that reads like a high school girls diary, to let the quasi author write the screen play could be horrible and it will. This story has been told so many times but never as badly as this. 9 1/2 weeks , last tango, etc… all have done this shit. I can tell you write now it will be a shit fest.

  8. Michelle says:

    If they drag it out too long people lose interest. I am beginning to do so now just like I did with the twilight series. Waiting more than a year is ridiculous. People read the books use your imagination. It is better than any movies could ever be. Disappointed in both the author and the Universal for arguing and failing to provide a timely 2nd movie to the series. OVER IT

  9. sam says:

    i likefirty shades so much the story was really good

  10. sam says:

    i cannot get the film out of my head so good its is mind blowing

  11. Elaine Hanes says:

    I’ve read FSOG more times than I can recall. Watching the trailers disappointed me, so I knew I wouldn’t like the movie. Finally got to the movie this week, and my initial feelings were spot on. I kept comparing the movie to the book. Absolutely no chemistry between Dakota and Jamie. He was so wooden, and boring. Not once in the film, did he mention Ana’s beautiful skin or how beautiful she was. Christian Grey has a very distinctive look. Where was the floppy copper-colored hair and amazing gray eyes? In the book, the contract negotiations were held at The Heathman…with Ana wearing the iconic plum dress, not in Christian’s boardroom, as in the film. And don’t get be started on the other characters. Grace Trevelyan-Grey was an ash-blonde. And Kate Kavanaugh, where were her curly tresses? And Elliot, are you kidding me? All I can say is…attention to details, people. I’m begging E.L. James to write the screenplay, and please have the casting director search for a new CHRISTIAN and ANASTASIA❗️ Chemistry is key❗️

    • Renee says:

      I fully fully agree on every point there. I have read the books over and over and they missed on so many characters! Especially how dr grey was presented. She was wealthy but nota stuck up snob. She loved her son. I think grey would have been ok with better writing. They ONLY focused on his bad side. The books are a blossoming love and evolution of a damaged soul into the light. It’s his soft side that make women fall in love with the books. I hope if James write the movie that she will put that essence in the film

  12. Renee says:

    I absolutely love the books couldn’t put them down but I rushed out ND bought the movie and was realm disappointed as was others I talk to. I didn’t feel that connection in the movie that I felt reading the book, they left out some really necessary parts that Showed what lead to this all and I didn’t feel the connection between the actor/actress the chemistry was not what it was in book I hope they let her write the script for two and its better or I wont watch it

  13. Natasha says:

    I agree EL James should write the script herself. Being a writer myself I was disappointed with the script written for the first inslalment of her book. it was watered down and rushed and alot of scenes were ommited which would have played a role for the sequel.. The book had brilliant dialogue and I can’t understand how the writer could have gone so wrong. CHEERS!!!

  14. I get so annoyed at people that describe the book and movie as ‘drivel’, as not being accurate BDSM, and as being abusive. If you’re a prude, why would you even bother reading the books?

    To those BDSM masters out there – Newsflash, Errol Flynn wasn’t a real swashbuckler and neither was Fabio. I’m sure there are some real sailors out there that can point out all their incorrect knots. Those of us not enlightened don’t really want to see everything exact. A taste is just fine.

    To you abuse claimers – Anastasia is a spunky, confident young woman that kept coming back for consensual relations. It is possible to enjoy submission on different levels to your significant other and still retain yourself. I know what it’s like to be married to an Alpha-male, and let’s face it – Christian Grey is one. Wow, is it something!!

    Danielle Steele has never appealed to me like it did my mom’s generation. Many of us today’s women (to put it crassly) want to be f#@!*ed, and be the object of an alpha-male’s obsession. Obviously, lots of women fantasize about this otherwise it wouldn’t be a best seller. I found it VERY entertaining. It isn’t bloody Shakespeare, people.

  15. B.A. says:

    The actors and everyone involved should just move on with their lives and not look back. Their careers will be better for it as this drivel is a dime a dozen. They found the proverbial ‘Golden Ticket’, and they should just run….in the other direction. E.L. James write a screenplay? Hah! Here, let me do it: “The End.”

    • Nothing to do with being “prudie” in not liking E L James “work” (if you can CALL it that) it’s garbage. It’s words, printed on paper, and that made use of a very successful PR firm. James thinks she wrote the next Great Gatsby. I’ve got news for ya James: You DIDN’T. The Kardashians are successful too- does that make them great artists? McDonalds “great food”?

      • Jessie C says:

        AGREED. Her work is utter garbage. It’s useful in one way: your fireplace. I bought the first book for a cross country flight. When I read the dorky words ‘holy cow, is this really happening?’ I was so turned off, I couldn’t read any further. Who says ‘holy cow’ who’s educated and intelligent? It’s a character dork fest and the writing is laughable and sad. The movie: a snooze fest. I’m no prude, this shit is just BASIC. The fact that the writer is a control freak is another turn off. This trilogy will not get another dime from me. Making this dumb woman even richer is a nauseating thought. Oh America, you are chock full of really stupid, repressed people with no sense of art or literature. Or sex.

  16. lesse says:


  17. Brenda says:

    Perhaps you shouldn’t “fix” what isn’t broken. E.L has already captivated millions with the books. The movie has captured even more, haven already grossed $300 million plus. Way would you change what is working. Millions are on their seat edges for the next movie, just as they were for the books. Please iron out the details quickly and get the typing back on it’s way. As for some who don’t like the “Irish” accent that peaks through with “Christian” , well I think it just adds that something extra. After all there was always more to “Christian”, so much more, so why not in the movie too!? looking forward to the next movie ,”50 Shades Darker” and always looking forward to a good book by E.L.
    One Happy Fan

  18. Angela says:

    For the of God get a new director. Something was always..off. Timing, pacing..something.

    I think part if mine and every person I know, problem with Jamie not “being Christian” was that his Irish accent kept coming through. Fix that.

    As for the screenplay, why in the world a writer want to put “a fresh perspective” on already well established characters? I think a new writer is definitely in order.

  19. Laresa Coleman says:

    I’m a huge fan of the book. I loved the movie. For once I felt like I was reading the book on television. That is exactly what I wanted. I felt all of the emotions that I felt reading the book and I believe they should continue in the direction they started. I was excited and pleased!

  20. Wasn’t interested in watching the movie and from what I’ve heard from people in the BDSM community (for lack of a better term coming to mind) they do a horrible job representing what it is and even having the male lead to do things that are taboo, like ignoring the safe word, and crossing the line between BDSM and sexual assault at times. As a dom myself I’m kinda interested in seeing for myself what they’re talking about but mostly I don’t really want to risk wasting my time. Also heard the leads had horrible chemistry.

  21. alenea says:

    I loved the movie. I thought the characters were great and so was the story line. It had me wanting to see more when the credits came up. It was a huge change in the movies I watch but I can’t wait to see if the make another. Just hope it’s the same actors and more creativity

  22. Teresa says:

    I loved the film and loved the actors…I just hope they keep the same actors in the sequels…

  23. Deborah says:

    Just stick to the book and the movie will be great I was disappointed with the 1st movie didn’t think it stayed on course with the book

  24. Alex2000 says:

    I really hope they let E.L James write the script. I found the first movie to be blunt/boring rather than interesting. They’ve missed great deal of dialogues from the book that I might have preferred to see in the movie. I prefer Darker and freed over the first book because of the dramatic incidents, and the thought of E.L James writing the script for the sequels is amazing. I really don’t want the fifty shades of grey darker to be merely about sex, just like they made first one seem. In the first one, there were more sex scenes than dialogues itself.

  25. fiftyfan says:

    I thought the screenwriter did a great job. I don’t know if that was because E L James had so much creative control or not but it was very refreshing to see a film that was true to the book. The story was actually recognizable unlike most adaptations. Perhaps you should stick with the same format.

  26. Turtleback says:

    Best solution… DON’T make a sequel anymore, and start making other novel adaptions from friendly authors with good books… But nah, I think Universal’s still going to make it, since the first film made a lot of money…..

    • Sal U. Lloyd says:

      Film production companies play it safe. They prefer not to take risks. That’s why a screenplay from a new writer is more often than not rejected at the reader stage. Sometimes they are even more conservative than the banking industry which is VERY conservative.

  27. zyggie says:

    This movie is not good. Hope they change leads.

  28. argonrain says:

    I’m surprised at the positive slant on this article when almost every user review on IMDB rates it as 1/10 with many people walking out of the theatre half-way through. Given that the books were utter drivel it’s hardly surprising that the movie was so bad. How anyone deserves $300 million for that is beyond me. As for James writing the script herself, I suppose we should prepare ourselves for a single sophomoric dialog repeated about 100 times over 2 hours. I can’t wait.

    • Sal U. Lloyd says:

      Only goes to show that the Michael Bay dictum holds true not only for mindless summer blockbuster releases, but for sexploitation as well.

  29. SueL says:

    E.L. James is right to take this type of control over the film adaptation of her books. Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson were EXACTLY what I pictured Christian and Anastasia to be as I read the books. I actually have great respect for E.L. James’ work ethic and intelligence: in a world where “are you” has become “r u”, this author took no shortcuts. These stories appeal to us for many specific reasons, and ignoring those reasons and arbitrarily casting actors who do not match the characters created in the Fifty Shades series would have been a huge mistake. Look at the horrific mess the studios made of the Twilight series. There is a lot of controversy over whether E.L. James knows all that much about hard core BDSM, but you are missing the point when you go down that route. This is essentially a love story, told in a way that resonates with most women: we want the full and undivided attention, love and devotion of our mates; we want to be the center of their universe – we want to be more important than any business meeting or any other relationship they have going in their life. The BDSM content is really just an angle – a very interesting angle, I must admit! – which changes the story up and moves the action forward. Essentially, we have the innocent heroine who brings the damaged, dark hero back to the light: a twist on the Beauty and the Beast theme, and then some! Women all over the world recognize the instinct to “save” or “change” their mates – most women attempt to do this at some point or another in our lives. We try to mold a man into what we need him to be. But E.L. James is right: men really are from a different planet! I really enjoyed these books: I was able to shut the world out and go along on this very interesting adventure. These books are like a balm to the wound in our spirits when most of us women finally come to the realization that most men are not in touch with their emotions and lack the empathy or desire to give us the romantic satisfaction we have been conditioned to crave. If you are one of the lucky few who have found their perfect mate, who satisfies her on every level, then I congratulate you! The rest of us have to seek solace in escapist fiction like Fifty Shades of Grey and the Twilight series. E.L. James labored many hours to write these books. They are her creation – almost like a child or a second limb, and to have someone denigrate or cheapen your creation is unbearable. I look forward to the second installment of the movie series: I think E.L. James is capable of surprising us all.

    • I completely agree with every word of this comment. E L James was not a successful published author before the Fifty Shades trilogy either, so she is capable of succeeding in writing the scripts as well. What I don´t understand is why the studio seems willing to wait for a 2017 release for Fifty Shades Darker. Their 2016 lineup does not seem that promising, as in there is no title with potential for a worldwide 500 million dollar box office achievement in 30 days. Moreover, the last installment of their profitable Fast and Furious movie franchise is being released this year.
      Have they learned nothing from Warner and Summit / Lionsgate about based-on-book-franchises release strategies? Make it work, Universal and keep fans informed. The target audience for these movies is different.

    • John Smith says:

      The ONLY satisfying surprise would be if the books got burnt and all knowledge of them was erased from the collective memory of humanity. Followed by a close second choice of being rewritten in a way that would provide a good understanding for women of how to identify abusive relationships and how to avoid them instead of glorifying it and dooming another generation with the misguided delusion that they should look for this type of partner and then possibly eventually compound the problems by bringing children into these types of relationships.

      It glorified the female lead as a door mat with no understanding and even less control of her life or the situation.

      This was so, so, so wrong on so many different levels! It saddens me that every person is not outraged at the way the female lead is presented and the concepts that are accepted. The way it is presented is only reenforcing the acceptance of the age old game of use and abuse in a negative way. The opposite of BDSM. The story line of BDSM has been used to cover up and camouflage the real underlying narrative of accepting abuse.
      How many people will this subtly influence in the coming years with a wide range of negative outcomes.

      Showed ZERO understanding of the BDSM lifestyle.
      No Dom with any understanding would EVER treat a Sub so badly.

  30. Who on earth at Universal did not demand creative control and final say on the script? What on earth were they thinking?

    E.L. James is a BDSM outsider who wrote smutty twilight fan fiction about her own pre-conceptions of BDSM.

    Major well-established and respected writers of well-known series surrender creative control when their stuff gets adapted. My deepest hope is she will write such a bad script that Hollywood officially dumps her and she has to settle for half what she would have been paid before while giving total control to the studios.

    • Kiroler says:

      You Sir, are sadly lacking in understanding female erotica. She wrote something that appealed to millions of women. You display a lack of sensitivity and insight which found in many men in our society, helps drive the success of novels such as The Fifty Shades Trilogy and make other authors such as E L James immensely rich. Your perspective and attitude literally adds fuel to the flame of women’s obsession for books such as these. I suppose you think your reasoning and judgement superior to thatof women?

      • Jade says:

        Wow really? Maybe you should watch some porn. Live a little. This schlock is an insult to intelligent women. Seriously, you must be hard core repressed to find this horribly written dorkfest of a book sexy. Just look at the writer. A 50 plus fat lady control freak who obsessed over the Twilight series. This is an incredible example of how f–OMG dumb this country has truly become. ‘Murica.

  31. Wow it would be nice to have the next one done by 2016 I can’t belive the producers just left I just hope whoever puts out there on the big scream for us to watch makes it as great as the first one because I loved it and I really want more

  32. Anneke Schieberl says:

    Loved the movie and appreciated so much it kept to the love story and didn’t go over the top with the sex. The book is not that well written and this director did an amazing job. E L James stick to writing your books and leave the screen play alone.

  33. chia says:

    Love it…keep the same crew…

  34. MJ says:

    Why can’t the writer just get on with witting more books, Fifty or not, I’m waiting for more books and leave the film business to the professionals. I enjoyed the film much more on the second viewing as I was less hung up on it being different from the book. It works really well the studio need together the team back but leave out the author please.

  35. streets950 says:

    Have to laugh at all of this. First, I have to say I’m not the target demographic for this move (male 50+) and I have no interest in watching a movie of a (to me) unattractive middle-aged woman’s fantasies. Her characters show no respect for each other (they’re so busy trying to ‘control’ each other they have lost all ‘respect’ for each other) and the author has no respect for her readers with all the grammatical errors and badly written dialog. That being said, I do want to point out:

    1) Hollywood, this is your own fault. Your 30-something white male execs keep pumping out drivel for the 30-something male target demographic (gads, do we need ANOTHER comic hero/transformer movie?!?) so when excruciating badly written female material comes along and it’s the only thing targeting that demographic there was nothing else in the pipeline devoted to that audience.

    2) E.L. James is giving writers a bad rap. Most of the writers I know aren’t this controlling and are eager to adapt their material. She’s setting back relations with writers even worse than it is now and is giving even more excuses for producers to continue their abuse of the writers. She’s promulgating the stereotype of ‘difficult’ writers.

    3) Universal is caught between a rock and a hard place. Their options are to 1) fight her and get a real screenwriter to get the material out in time for a 2016 release with an R rating, 2) let her write and delay until 2017 as the actors get older and go for NC-17 or X ratings, possibly direct to video. Option 1 would cost another $40M and I’d think they’d repeat the Box Office take of ~$130M domestically. So for the two movies they’d have an income of $260m domestic with an expense of $80m, or $180m ‘profit.’ With option 2 you can cut the production budget to, say, $10m and hope for, maybe, a $75m box office and video sales. That would put option 2 total income of the two movies at $ 205m with an expense of $50m, giving a profit of $155m, or not that much less than option 1. Option 1 is clearly desirable, but if James insists on writing the movie her way then the studio still has a way to make money by using option 2.

    • VAVB23456 says:

      While I agree with your math in point 3 I have to say that you are missing the target in points one and two. I, too, am not the target demographic for Fifty Shades (male, 60+) but I have read the books, and you must have read a different printing than I did. I did not see grammatical errors and bad dialog. I did read dialog similar to the way people, not on a movie set, actually speak.

      I have seen many movies where the original story is presented with such a “fresh perspective” that the only point of similarity is the title and the name of the lead character. I did not find these movies superior to the original books. James wants her story to appear on the screen. I can’t blame her for that. I’m not sure that James’s screenplay would be better than one written by someone else, but I am sure that it would be more her characters and story than one written by someone else. If she was such a bad writer her books would not have sold as well as they have. I assure you that there is significant competition in the “womens sexy romance” category of books.

      And finally, your clear disdain for “Comic Heroes” offends and irritates me. The current run of Marvel Studios pictures are spectacular. They are good conversions of the original source material, as well as well written, well directed, family friendly entertainment. The box office reward for this quality work is a clear indication of the value of the product. If you don’t like it, please feel free not to go see them, but there are many of us who are very happy that these movies are being made.

      • streets950 says:

        “Game of Thrones,” “Hunger Games,” “Schindler’s List,” and “Lord of the Rings,” to name a few, all had screenwriters that were not the original author but translated to the screen very well. Indeed “Schindler’s List” had to make Schindler likeable for the movie as he was not portrayed as such at the start of the book. The audience never would have followed Oskar’s journey with him had he been portrayed as unlikeable. Also, Schindler never could have seen the ghetto purge from Lasota Hill as depicted in the film (he was in jail at the time and even if not, never could have seen the getto from the hill) and the ‘girl in the red dress’ in reality wore a red cap and was never in the ghetto to begin with (she was picked up later in totally different circumstances.) But the trouble is that the film must depict the INTENT of the characters in as short a time as possible because you only have 2 hours of film time, unlike a book that can stretch on forever. Hence the term “Reel” vs. “Real” is used. Yes, the scene could never have happened, however, it WORKS in the film to depict one of the many events in Schindler’s character arc to cause the transformation from his beginning-of-film persona to the one we see at the end of the film.

        So whoever writes ’50 shades’ has to depict Christian, a stalker-rapist-coercive-control-freak, in a likeable manner. And you’re saying that MUST be done by James, who obviously herself is a CONTROL FREAK.

        Remember it may be her story, but it’s NOT HER MONEY. If she wants to plunk down $40m of her own cash and make the movie I’d say go for it, make it XXXXXX rated. But she doesn’t have that kind of cash lying around. She has to work with the studio. And that means relinquishing control to the people who have more experience than she does.

        Oh, and as far as your “comic heroes” feelings comment, (note these movies are written by other-than-the-original authors, by the way) the only recommendation I can suggest to you is that you feel that way until you don’t feel that way anymore. Too bad.

    • Laise says:

      you are absolutely right. As a target demographic for this book/movie (25 female) and as someone who has read the book (after trying to start it for at least five times, scene and dialogue was too bad for me to continue;I was only able to continue after seeing this movie because the actors nailed it).I I’ve been an avid reader of english classics since I was ten, so I challenged myself to try and figure out why this trilogy has been a hit. I saw the movie twice through the perspective of someone who also works in film production, I say that this crew did a near miracle with the material they had.
      The fact that this writer is stalling production because she wishes to have creative control over a piece which is obviously worse than its film version baffles me. I firstly don’t understand why her editor let the lines such as “my inner Godness…” slip in every two out of three lines in the books. It seems SO mediocre. The original material is undeveloped, cheesy and crude, the dialogue seems like something taken out of bad fanfiction, even though I admit that I do find the premisse, and ONLY the premisse, of these book intriguing. She got a lot of cash out of women who don’t have access to good erotica. And she surely has no notion of how hard is to adapt something to the big screen (budget and market wise).
      However, this director and the scriptwriter new entirely too well, as professionals, what to cut and what to add in this narrative to make the most out of it. I did enjoy the movie.
      To get these people out of a possible sequel would be the biggest mistake ever.
      If James writes this second script, without any previous knowledge of scriptwriting, I can guarantee it will become a porno.
      People need to acknowledge that not everyone in the world can write, and only a few people have the true ability of writing stories into films, scriptwriters are not a commodity. And writing good dialogue is HARD.

      • streets950 says:

        You read the books!??!!? WHY?!?!? Just go to the summaries by Jenny Trout and 50 shades of Tedious F****kery and get the Cliff notes. Funnier than anything and a lot easier to read. They have the word counts for all the phrases (“and” used over 14,000 times in the three books)

        I was saddened to read SueL’s reasoning why the story was popular, above, as it clearly shows Chedward as a control-freak-stalker-rapist and I wondered why any woman would fantasize about WANTING to have that kind of relationship. It’s very sad that women think they can change their mate. I mean, it’s not their job, and it’s up to the person to change only if they want to. So it promulgates the fantasy and will make many women’s lives miserable.

        Oh, and in Book 2, when Chedward crashes the helicopter, he hikes out of the forest with Ros (in her high heels) and can’t call anyone because there are no cell towers and get a ride from a trucker who has no comm gear, so they get back to the house only 8 hours later. He could have gotten back a LOT sooner if he had merely turned on the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) that all aircraft are supposed to carry and are activated in a ‘crash’ Moron. Help could have come to him.

        Oh, and I really disliked him when at the end of Book one he put the USED condom in his POCKET. And women think this is erotic?!?!?!? EWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!

    • VAVB23456 says:

      Granted that there are stories that were improved by screen writers, but while that does happen occasionally, it is far more frequent for the story to be destroyed by a screen writer and director who have political or social problems with the original story. Heinleins “Starship Troopers” is an excellent example of this. The book was an evenhanded treatment of a young fellow who entered military service. The movie was a screed against the military. Situations and characters were changed to show the evil intent of the military at all levels.

      I’m not saying that James will do a better job than a screen writer would, only that she will be truer to her characters than they would. Personally, I thought that the 50 Shades movie was a very reasonable translation of the book. The comments of the director afterward do make me think that without James’ efforts the movie would have been a less true translation.

      As far as the authors of the Marvel movies being other than the original authors, The Marvel movies are all mostly original material. The comic stories that are being mined for ideas are being mined, not translated. Additionally, the Marvel characters have all had many authors over the 40+ years they have been running. It would be very difficult to identify one specific author for any of it. The movie authors, however, have stuck very close to the original characters, and that, in my opinion, is why they are doing so well.

      • Patricia Sivec says:

        It’s easier for an average person with writing skills, to write a book. However screen writing and directing is what makes the book a movie. Not many can do all three jobs or even two of them. Dialog, as we know, is not Erica’s forte. The premise of her book is fabulous ! That is what drew us all in. Doubtful anyone would agree on the dialog part. It was campy. I hope she begs the screenwriter and director to work with her. Or, at least permits ;-)

  36. soserious says:

    Idris Elba needs to be cast as Christian Grey!!!!!! He would be great for that part. The other guy acted like he was reading a book. Please consider idris Elba!!!

  37. Bill Blass says:

    The next film need to be pure NC-17 and own it. The books sold 100 million copies with many copies being shared for one reason and one reason only….women everywhere were enthralled with the sexual fantasy. The sequel needs to be much more faithful and graphic to the book.

    This is a chance to prove NC-17 films can be main stream.

    You see the 2nd week numbers for box office? It is not in the top “8” for largest 2nd week decline of all time in revenue. Droppee 78% over week 1. Word got out that the sex wasn’t there and they all passed.

    Universal had no business taking on the material if they were to have concerns over the sex scenes….the story is what it is…own it…deal with it. They use butt plugs (lol). Work it in in screen cowards.

    Finally, in the instance of this franchise rated “R” vs. NC-17 probably wouldn’t cost them a dollar. This is a sex film…no rating will make anyone buying a ticket declaring their intentions any less because it is an “R” film…you are buying a ticket to see a sex film…end of story…NC wouldn’t scare anyone away

  38. martine says:

    I loved the movie, and I know that there is no way EL jambes could ever have control of the script, thats not how it works. I am waiting for a sequel…to the movie, which is much better then the books.

  39. Donna says:

    I read all 3 of the 50 Shades of Grey series. When I saw the movie ( which I thought was terrific) I was blown away by the ending, and even though I knew the ending, I said ” no is that it”. So come on folks lets get 2 and 3 going….I can’t wait.

  40. Katrina says:

    Honestly who can make a movie as good as the book? I think the movie was well played out. If one were to produce a movie without leaving some of the details out in the book then the movie would be too long in one sitting or you would have a million sequels. I say ‘congrats’ to the casting team for soing a remarkable job! Now, the 2nd book- I hope I don’t anxiously have to wait too long to see this or it may fade away and possibly be forgotten in the past. Let’s get the ball rolling!!

  41. sisi south africa says:

    The studio better make the decision quick. I mean I understand James feels like it’s her baby but she will kill the hype if she drags it out. They should push for V day next year still.

  42. Klarista says:

    I think E.L. James should write the script. She wrote the book she will know what needs to go into the movie and in what order. Personally, I did not enjoy thr movie because it didn’t resemble the book in the way I think it should have. The readers don’t want a “fresh perspective”. The readers want what we read, that’s why we go to see the movie. I understand you can’t puy everything you read in the book in the movie for multiple reasons. But don’t try to change the story because it’s what you want. Obviously the viewers enjoyed the book otherwise they wouldn’t go see the movie. Let E L. James write the script have someone else revise it to make it R rated without taking away from the story and keeping the storyline entact and then give it back to E.L. James to work with the revisions to make it work and then do a final revision. Yes, it will take a bit longer but I think the viewers would rather have to wait to see a movie they enjoy instead of losing money because you wanted an earlier release.

    • Vredesbyrd says:

      Completely agree with you. “Fresh Perspective.” Seriously, what fresh perspective was she talking about? Omitting major story points just for the sex? Because that’s all she managed to do. I mean come on, anybody who actually read the books know that Christian wasn’t comfortable ‘playing’ with Ana as much, so they had “plain ol’ vanilla” more than anything. Honestly I don’t even remember if they actually went back into the RROP in the second book after she left him, because that traumatized him. So if Taylor is trying to sell the BDSM side of the story, she’s fucked for the second movie anyways. She was catering to the “BDSM” and that wasn’t even what the story was mainly about. BDSM was just a dressing.

      I’m sure she hardly read the books, if not at all. Taylor extracted what would sell, and in that aspect she she did a fantastic job. Sex sells. But the fans are gonna be the ones still buying, and she’s clearly not satisfying the fans.This director is going to murder this franchise.

      E.L. James should have more power in this. It’s her story, her characters. She knows it better than anybody. She knows what we want. It isn’t even about the money to her, obviously. It’s about the craft, about her art. It’s like someone painting a beautiful painting that became famous, just for someone who runs an Art Gallery to come along and be like “Oh! This will sell much better if we just paint a dog shitting right here in the left corner…bitches love dogs shitting in left corners.”

      • John Smith says:

        “Oh! This will sell much better if we just paint a dog shitting right here in the left corner…bitches love dogs shitting in left corners.”

        Evidently E.L. James does think women love that type of thing just thrown in the left corner.

  43. RHw says:

    If EL James doesn’t right the screenplay for the sequel 50 shades darker I will not pay my money to go to the theater to watch it . So many of the subtleties that were in the book that made the book what it was were left out. Makes me wonder if Kelly Marcille actually read the book !

  44. sally says:

    I don’t think it’s fair that Jamie Dornan and dakota jonson can’t schedule other projects due to fifty shades if she wants to write the script then get on with it I honestly think they should get the original screenwriter back on board E.L James will screw it up

  45. thicky sweet says:

    I watch the movie yesterday I don’t like it they left out so much part that make the movie awesome and they even change around the whole book it had me confused .everyone say they didn’t had enough sex scenes but honest true they had more sex than talking. I will not say hate maybe dislike I just hope that darker will be better than the first and that the author will have more to say and not be a silent partner. I just expected more because you had so much high people working with you

    • MJ says:

      I totally agree AND they need to get Sam back on board to make these work……. Sadly I bet it’ll all just be too much trouble for the studio and it will never be made.

  46. Ashley says:

    I just saw the Movie after reading the novels and I know the book is better but I didn’t care for the dialog between Ana and Christain in the movie- my thought is give more control over to E.L. James.

    • chillin says:

      But she’s a horrible writer. She’s going to hang herself

      • ugh not again says:

        Exactly what chillin said, E.L. James is a horrible, horrible writer. How these books became so popular is beyond me, but hey people like what they like. Nevertheless it is also mentioned that Universal is hesitant because E.L. James has no experience with writing screenplays, so it will most likely cost extra time an extra time means extra money. I think E.L. James should get off her high horse and let the people who know how to make films do their jobs.

  47. stevenkovacs says:

    James should consider working with Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi for the sequel!

  48. Olivia says:

    I was so disappointed in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie that I believe James NEEDS to take over the writing. After I saw the movie I felt so deflated. There was so much content, little things that make it a true love story, that were left out. I loved the books. So obviously I want the movie to reflect the books. I don’t want it changed. I think the films need to stay true to the books so that everything the reader loved about the books is incorporated into the movie. If I didn’t read the books and I went to see this first movie I really would have hated it. I think James needs to take over the script for the remaining two films. I didn’t want to have to wait too long for the next movie but if it will be better than the first and it means James will be writing the script, I don’t mind waiting. It will be worth it.

  49. Sonia mcdonald says:

    James should just leave it as it was in the first film she could ruin next film. Don’t let her do it as I sooooooo enjoyed the first cant wait till DVDs come out

More Film News from Variety