Fifty Shades of Grey has been a success, whether in terms of the books or the new movie, which broke box office records for its opening weekend. There have been magazine interviews, a press tour to promote the film and the stars have made appearances on late night talk shows to discuss their involvement in the movie. With all of this success, it makes sense that the Fifty Shades of Grey sequels would automatically become movies, however, a battle regarding who will write the screenplays seems to be delaying any real news. While Universal Pictures has the rights to produce both Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, there are currently negotiations in the works for the author to create the screenplay, rather than have a separate screenwriter.
Although there have been reports that Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan have already signed on to reprise their roles as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey respectively, there is no screenplay written for either sequel at this time. For the first film, the screenplay was written by Kelly Marcel and was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. At the time there were reports that both Taylor-Johnson and Marcel had problems with working with the books’ author, E.L. James. In an article in Variety, the director discussed some of the struggles with filming Fifty Shades of Grey. One thing that she specified was that while James had created this story and the characters, she was attempting to create a movie that best represented the book, while also giving the story a fresher perspective.
While there had originally been no issues with Marcel and James over the screenplay, once Universal asked that the sex scenes be toned down that was when problems arose. This was particularly true for James, who was apparently not happy with the idea of the sex scenes being tempered. These divisions between the original author and the screenwriter, as well as the director, has now created a new battle in the attempt to bring the Fifty Shades of Grey sequels to the big screen.
The latest news regarding the Fifty Shades franchise seems to indicate that James wants more command over the sequels. In fact, it appears that the author is in talks to have complete creative control over the screenplay for Fifty Shades Darker. This control would include James writing the screenplay for the film herself. While Universal Pictures had not appeared to agree with this decision, now it would seem that they are in talks with the author to discuss the possibility.
Although both Johnson and Dornan have signed on for the sequels to Fifty Shades of Grey, there is still a battle to be won in regards to who will be writing the screenplay for both films. Since the very beginning, James has had an enormous role in the production of the movie and now it would seem the author may have an even greater role in the upcoming films. While fans wait for new developments in the world of Fifty Shades, they can still enjoy the first movie which is in theaters now.
By Kimberley Spinney
Photo by Mike Mozart – Flickr License