In further news of cinematic adaptations of novels that may entail extensive use of prosthetics, it appears that the Fifty Shades of Grey film – which feels like it’s been in production since before the books were actually written even though it still hasn’t started filming – may finally have a confirmed director. Disappointing all those who had hoped Gus Van Sant may have chased his feted ‘Death trilogy’ of Gerry, Elephant and Last Days with a petite mort trilogy, Variety is reporting that the position has been filled (fnar fnar, etc.) by Sam Taylor-Johnson, formerly Sam Taylor-Wood, celebrated visual artist turned director of John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy and spouse of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, star of that film, Kick-Ass and Anna Karenina.
The rights to the novel are in the hands of Universal, Focus Features and producer Michael De Luca, who said of Taylor-Johnson’s appointment: ‘Sam’s unique ability to gracefully showcase complex relationships dealing with love, emotion and sexual chemistry make her the ideal director to bring Christian and Anastasia’s relationship to life. E. L. James’ characters and vivid storytelling require a director who is willing to take risks and push the envelope where needed and Sam is a natural fit.’ To be blunt, it’s also kind of a relief that a story that has become, for better or worse, an emblem of sexual empowerment for a lot of women is in fact going to be brought to the screen by a woman rather than a man trying to project his own impression of what some homogenised notion of women finds sexy.
Naturally, speculation will now immediately turn to who Taylor-Johnson might cast in the lead roles and, just as naturally, most of that speculation will likely land at the door of her husband, even though at 23 he’s arguably still a few years shy of what would be required for the part of Christian Grey. Variety, however, cites sources who say ‘he may have been part of the meetings Sam Taylor-Johnson was having with Universal and Focus execs.’ Maybe he was just taking her sandwiches or something. Either way, at this rate it’ll only be a couple of months before we have to churn out another one of these posts confirming that the Fifty Shades film is still several months from completion.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.