One of the most talked about scenes from E.L. James’ bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey” — involving Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele and a tampon — won’t be featured in the film version.
“It didn’t make it into the movie,” says director Sam Taylor-Johnson, in an interview with Variety. “It was never even discussed.” The scene is a memorable moment between Christian (played by Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) on the page. Over the summer, MTV asked: “Should ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Include The Book’s Grossest Sex Scene?”
The producers decided if it was best if it didn’t. “The book needed to put you in Ana’s shoes to be a successful experience,” says producer Michael De Luca. “A lot of it was very literal. The movie didn’t need to do that. It’s a completely different medium.”
One of the challenges in bringing “Fifty Shades” to the bigscreen, as detailed in this week’s Variety cover story featuring Dornan, was figuring out how much of the book’s sex would make it into the film. An early draft of the script, by Kelly Marcel, was toned down through rewrites to make “Fifty Shades” less racy, so that it would secure an R (and not a NC-17) rating, Variety learned.
“It’s say it’s pretty 50/50,” says Taylor-Johnson, when described the sex vs. non-sex split in the film. “I think the sex scenes are integral to the story. They are not gratuitous. It tracks the story.”
De Luca says the most intense onscreen sex between Christian and Ana is their last encounter from the first book. “The scene that we talked about a lot is the final scene, where Ana asks him to do the worst he can do to show her how bad it’s going to get,” De Luca says. “It’s the closest Christian comes in the first book to being his full dominant self. Jamie’s performance in that scene is a miracle. He really gets carried away in the moment.”
Author E.L. James, who was a producer on the Focus Features release, approves of the adaptation, even if some of the content had to be toned down. “‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is first and foremost a romantic love story, and the sex is only part of that,” James tells Variety. “People who haven’t read the books might be surprised that there isn’t more sex on the screen, but that’s because they’ve gone by media reports of ‘Fifty Shades,’ which have tended to err on the side of the sensational. I’m pretty sure the millions of fans who have the read the trilogy will think there is enough sex.”
“Fifty Shades” opens on Feb. 13. For more about the movie, read Variety’s cover story here.