Sam Taylor-Johnson Will Not Direct ‘Fifty Shades Darker’

Sam Taylor Johnson Not Directing fifty
Mike Marsland/WireImage

Sam Taylor-Johnson will not return to direct “Fifty Shades Darker,” the sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Several reports, including one from Variety, said Taylor-Johnson had been looking to move on from the franchise, with sources saying constant arguments with author E.L. James over the direction of the film during its production forced Taylor-Johnson to reconsider her options.

With screenwriter Kelly Marcel not returning to adapt the sequel, Universal will now look to find a writer and director to replace the two. Variety first reported that James is very interested in adapting it herself and that U is considering it, but will begin meeting with people before deciding which option is best.

Sources say production is expected to get under way in the first quarter of 2016 with stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson on board to return.

Since opening over Valentine’s Day weekend, “Fifty Shades of Grey” has become a worldwide hit, grossing $558 worldwide and $164 million domestically.

No release date has been set yet for the sequel.

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  1. Debbie Torres says:

    Fifty Shades of Grey was a fantastic movie and I loved it more than the book. I wish she would have stayed working on the rest of the movies. I wish her the best.

  2. NormandyWells says:

    oh, you silly women with your low low standards of writing and film….

  3. Dave J. says:

    Fans will flock to see it anyway regardless who’s directing it!

  4. Elena Latici says:

    From the the first time I saw an interview with EL James before seeing the film I knew in an instant that she would trouble. If Focus and Universal had been on the ball they would have purchased the rights at the first sign of FSOG’s popularity when it was still fan fiction and without having to give EL James carte blanche. Script approval? Unheard of, especially for a first time writer. Input on every detail from costumes to set to music and most of all CASTING?? Was it not clear to anyone that she was one tough cookie? Let’s exchange cookie for broad, a vulgar term yes, but then so is she. And so now, studio heads have created a monster who is willing to use any means to get her own way even at the cost of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

    Kelly Marcel’s screenplay was spot on and I believe I have at least some of the credentials to make that claim as one who spent many years developing screenplays with writers, directors and producers for United Artists, Warner Bros and Paramount. Ms. Marcel, to steal a phrase from the book, managed to raise “the ordinary to the extraordinary.” I’ll go even further: She made a silk purse from a sow’s ear. If EL James is allowed to write the sequel(s) all that will remain will be the sow’s ear. The fascination and hungry following presently enjoyed by Fifty Shades will metamorphose into derisive hilarity. What a shame that two of the four talents that turned Fifty Shades into something more than a prurient sexathon were allowed by the studios to be bullied to the point of such frustration and disgust as to walk away from a three part project that would have promised increased fame, bankability and freedom to choose future projects. One can only imagine the level of hell that would cause such desertion..

    If there is any chance at all of repairing this unfortunate rift it would be the best for the project. Should that fail, Madame James will find herself sitting alone in a screening room watching dailies that will never make it to the big screen and she will have no one to thank but her bullying, full of herself, aggressive, grasping, greedy self who is incapable of recognizing her own limits.. Of course the sequels can’t be made without Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, both of whom have my deepest sympathy as they can’t get out of their contracts.

    If there is anyone who could both write and direct the two sequels it would be Angelina Jolie. Not only does she have the talent and the insight, she also has the intelligence stamina and strength to nip Mrs. Jameses delusions of grandeur and talent in the bud. Snip! Snip! Snip! Gutsy, gifted and famously unflinching she holds first place in a group of one. Hopefully Universal and Focus will grow a pair and bring her on board.

    • streets950 says:

      The big question, though, is at what point does Universal stand to make more money in the long run if they keep it in turnaround? The actors are clamoring for more $, the director and writer will have to be paid a LOT more to put up with James’ meddling.

      Here we are after only 6 weeks and it’s already slipped to 13th place, so it’s not like it picked up new viewers like Hunger Games. The big question is whether or not the same people that saw the first will even come back for the second. Sure, the hard core fans will, but there’s a lot of disappointed reviews on IMDB and other boards that indicates Darker may not even get the same turnout as the first.

      Which leads to my original question: should U keep it in turnaround?

  5. Angie says:

    PLEASE don’t let E.L. James be the director. She has no experience and having her start with this movie is not the best idea. She can contribute her ideas, sure, but she should not be directing it. I wish Sam-Taylor Johnson wasn’t leaving; she did a great job.

  6. patricia says:

    please dakota stay pleas pleas pleas

  7. sandra says:

    Nooooo. She did such an amazing job on the first movie.😞

  8. jj says:

    typical. who wants to bet that the next director is a man.

    • Granted says:

      “typical”? Does that mean that it’s typical that women are always cat-fighting or that Hollywood is male-dominated?

  9. SAvery says:

    I think Universal should have made this a win-win situation for Sam Taylor Johnson and E.L .James. The movie’s success resulted from both their vision of the story. It combined their strength and weaknesses. Although it was difficult, they should have found a way to work around their differences by the second installment. I think this was a HUGE mistake not to have them back together to collaborate.

    • Granted says:

      This is a pretty naive post with regard to how the film industry operates and even life itself. Universal isn’t some all powerful entity that could “have found a way to work around their differences”. That was between Johnson and James. And what’s with all of the “shoulds”? We “should” stop war, “should” stop world hunger, “should” stop cataclysmic storms, but it’s just not possible. Fantasyland must be nice but you may want to try reality from here on out.

  10. expogirl11 says:

    James let the expert take over, you wrote the books now let them do the work, stop hounding them because they are not doing what you want. Take good citisims, you might not like what is be play but at least you are getting what you want.

  11. Jessica says:

    I am glad sam will not be back… There were specific parts or PART that should have been included and based on an article i read sam would not allow James to fit it in….i understand that books and movie are totally different and dont get me wrong i loved the movie but you have to have a common ground and agree (i think agree more with the author of the book). It is her vison so of course she has the right to be picky and demanding…

  12. Kaiser_Shi says:

    Calling Adam Lyne.

    Hoping that Universal will consider and get him as a director..

    • Donna says:

      Do you Adriane Lyne who directed Ufaithful with Diane Lane and Richard Gere, if so he would be a great choice. He’s not afraid to go there and if I’m not mistaken he did 9 1/2 wks as well. Yeah he would be good.

  13. cuddles 21 says:

    I think the Author should step back and let the experts do what they do best and that is make the movies. James wrote the books now it is time that she steps away.

  14. MLW says:

    The source material is attrocious, STJ elevated it and made it into something semi watchable, I hope Universal is not dumb enough to let James write the screen play.

  15. LV says:

    No big surprise, James has been a control freak since the story was Twilight fanfiction! They’re never going to find a director who will put up with her demands and need for ultimate control. Taylor did a good job with the first film considering her limitations and the source material she had to work with, but now that word it out it will be interesting to see who is willing to take on James. And she also wants to write the script?! Maybe they should just let her direct the next one too!

    • streets950 says:

      Not anything that a lot of money won’t cure. The director will most likely be given a huge payout for the job, plus deals for future movies. Would put the equivalent production costs for Darker in to the $100M category or more. (Remember that Dornan and Johnson are getting ~$12M boosts each for the next film, so even if they were able to keep the same production cost as the first, then their minimum cost to produce Darker would be starting at about $65M. Then add what they need to pay the director to babysit James for a year.)

    • Dylan Franklin says:

      Maybe James would want to star as Anastasia too!

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