Fifty Shades of Grey was a success at the box-office but behind the scenes the film’s production has left a trail of destruction in its wake.
Filming was plagued by delays. Original star Charlie Hunam dropped out. There were rumours of a lack of chemistry between stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, and reports of heated disagreements on set – reports that appeared to have some truth to them when the first instalment’s director Sam Taylor-Johnson declined to return for films two and three.
And now, screenwriter Kelly Marcel has spoken out, saying it broke her heart.
Marcel, who was notably absent from the film’s press tours and premieres, has revealed that she is yet to even watch the finished film.
“My heart really was broken by that process, I really mean it,” she said on Bret Easton Ellis’ podcast.
“I don’t say it out of any kind of bitterness or anger or anything like that. I just don’t feel like I can watch it without feeling some pain about how different it is to what I initially wrote.”
“I wanted to begin at the end of the film and for us to meet in the middle, so you start with the spanking and you have these sort of flashes that go throughout the film,” she went on, describing her version of the screenplay. “I wanted to take the inner goddess out and all of Ana’s inner monologue. I felt it could be a really sexy film if there wasn’t so much talking.”
“Erika [EL James] was like, ‘This isn’t what I want it to be and I don’t think this is the film the fans are looking for.'”
It’s not just Marcel who can’t bear to watch the finished product. Patrick Marber, the writer who was bought in at the last minute to re-write Marcel’s efforts, also had a less than pleasant experience.
“They said it was wonderful, you’ve saved our asses, you’re a hero,” he told the Independent. “And then I was fired.”
Apparently EL James wasn’t a fan of his work, which “strayed quite radically” from the original novel.
“I felt a bit sad because I thought I’d written a good script,” he continued, saying he’d also never watched the finished project: “I think possibly I don’t want to not like it.”
Needless to say, neither Marcel or Marber will work on the sequels, which are currently without a director.
James’ husband Niall Leonard, who has worked on series including Wild at Heart and Monarch of the Glen (and presumably shares his wife’s original vision for the story), is currently writing the script for Fifty Shades Darker.