9 questions about the Fifty Shades of Grey sequels

Is Sam Taylor-Johnson quitting? And will EL James be given total control over the script for Fifty Shades Darker?

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After enormous build up, hype and much speculation about whether it would be a box office sensation or a celluloid turkey, Fifty Shades of Grey the film has certainly delivered one thing… financial success. Since its timely release on Valentine’s Day, the raunchy movie has filled seats in cinemas across the globe and recently surpassed the $100m mark in the US box office (and $300m worldwide).

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It’s even managed to earn itself some fairly positive reviews from critics, who were largely sceptical in the run up to its release. It would seem the world – or at least those of you who have gone to the cinema in the last few weeks – just can’t get enough of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele’s steamy bedroom exploits… 

So there’s definitely going to be a sequel, right?

Well, there are two more naughty novels in the trilogy ripe for adaptation, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. But, while rumours are rife that Universal are keen to plough on with the sexy story (why wouldn’t they be, eh?), there’s been no official word yet. “The studio has not committed to a sequel as yet,” a representative told Variety recently.

Surely Sam Taylor-Johnson is keen? 

Actually, it’s not looking that way. It’s no secret that Fifty Shades of Grey caused certain disagreements on set between Taylor-Johnson and the book’s author EL James: “We battled all the way through. She’d say the same. There were tough times and revelatory times. There were sparring contests. It was definitely not an easy process,” Taylor-Johnson said in Vanity Fair

Rumour has it Taylor-Johnson is only contracted for one film – “I haven’t been privy to any conversations about the sequels,” she told Glamour last week – and isn’t keen to return for more “barneys” with James. Looks like Universal might have to start the recruitment process. Wanted: Director who doesn’t blush easily and knows her way around a red room.

But Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson would be on board?  

Yes. The film’s leads are reported contracted for all three films, so you will once again be seeing Dornan topless if Universal gives film number two the green light. 

So we’ll just be looking for a new director?

Mmm. It sounds like scriptwriter Kelly Marcel is stepping away from the project too. The Saving Mr Banks scribe has been notably absent from the film’s press tour…

Who will write the sequels then?

EL James is reportedly demanding to write the screenplay for Fifty Shades Darker, if it does happen. The author already had a lot of control over the first film, but, perhaps like Christian himself, who likes to exert control on all things, it wasn’t enough…

If EL James does take full control of the sequel it looks unlikely that Taylor-Johnson, Marcel or Patrick Marber, who refined the script, would be involved.

What will that mean for the film?

There have been reports that James insisted on her original dialogue making it into the movie, and argued for spicier sex scenes.Just keep your fingers crossed that inner goddess doesn’t slip in… 

Do authors normally have that much control over film adaptations of their work?

It depends. The likes of JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer had little creative control over the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, but Gillian Flynn wrote the script for Gone Girl, so it does happen. 

What does Universal say about it all?

Not much. “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,” a spokesperson told Variety

So when would Fifty Shades Darker hit cinemas?

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These discussions and negotiations are likely to push production back, so, if it is green lit, it likely won’t make it to cinemas until late 2016 or early 2017.