Sam Taylor-Johnson officially quits Fifty Shades of Grey franchise

The director doesn't say why she won't be overseeing the sequels...but there is a telling omission in her statement

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Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson has officially called time on her relationship with Christian Grey and his risqué red room.

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Taylor-Johnson is breaking up with the Fifty Shades franchise after helming the commercially successful debut film, leaving Universal with the tricky task of finding a new director to take on “the exciting challenges of films two and three” – as Taylor-Johnson put it in a statement yesterday.

“Directing Fifty Shades of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful,” she said. “I have Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota [Johnson] and Jamie [Dornan].”

The 48-year-old’s resignation note doesn’t explicitly say why she’s bowing out – but there is a telling omission.

She calls her time directing the film “intense” – a word that means “stretched tightly, strained”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. She says she has “Universal to thank” rather than EL James, who penned the stories, and references her “close and lasting relationships… most especially, with Dakota and Jamie.” Again, no reference to James. 

It’s no secret that there were disagreements on set between Taylor-Johnson and the book’s author. “We battled all the way through.” Taylor-Johnson said in Vanity Fair. “She’d say the same. There were tough times and revelatory times. There were sparring contests. It was definitely not an easy process.” And rumours have been circulating since the film was released that the director couldn’t face more “barneys” with James.

Or perhaps all that talk of cables ties, tape and inner goddesses just got too much. 

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There is some good news, though. Fans can fine solace in the fact that Taylor-Johnson’s statement confirms – again – that there will be Fifty Shades of Grey “two and three”, and Dakota and Jamie will star in the sequels.