E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey

Here’s a fun game to play: imagine that you have no idea what Sam Taylor-Johnson‘s Fifty Shades of Grey is about. Pretend that you’ve never heard of author E.L. James, or that you’re not aware of any casting kerfuffle surrounding the replacement of Charlie Hunnam by Jamie Dornan, or even that you know that Dakota Johnson is starring in the feature. Forget about Twilight and fan fiction and every trope that’s been layered on niche romance films over the past decade. Just get rid of all of that. (Some of you, we must note, probably already live in this state, but don’t worry, you can play, too — and you should!) Now watch this first trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey. Genuine question — what the hell do you think is going on here?



While E.L. James’ “Twilight” fan-fiction turned series of erotic novels, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” were popular enough that it would seem like film adaptations of the books would make unheard of amounts of money, there are still a few problems to solve that have likely kept the material from being put on the fast track to development. How would a Fifty Shades of Grey movie handle all of the kinky sex stuff, which is central enough to the storytelling that it would have to be included, but which would undoubtedly give it the dreaded R rating that restricts a film’s audience and that studios hate? Is it possible to keep in enough of the steamy stuff and still make it PG-13, or would it be stupid of Focus Features—who owns the film rights to the books—to not just bite the bullet and make R-rated film versions of these popular novels, no matter how much the restricted rating makes their bean-counters sweat? Thankfully for all you fans of latex jumpsuits and nipple clamps, there’s a man out there who feels that he has the right approach to making a Fifty Shades of Grey movie a success, and that man is veteran director of independent film, Gus Van Sant.


Angelina Jolie

I’ve spent the entire morning checking to see if they somehow changed June 8th to April Fool’s Day. No such luck, but this rumor is so absurd that it either has to be correct or has to be mined from an anonymous user on the message board of a fanfic blog. Or it comes from Deadline Seattle. The paper thin report alleges that Universal has been in talks with Angelina Jolie to direct at least the first film in the trilogy based on E.L. James’s “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The project is a massive one according to studio math because the books have been so popular (over ten million copies sold in 37 countries), so theoretically getting a high profile name attached as director could help the business side of things. On the other hand, this seems like a massive gamble. Is it supposed to be a tentpole film like Hunger Games and Twilight? It has a huge built-in fanbase, but will that be enough to ensure it’s worth the price tag? Can’t people go rewatch Secretary and Indecent Proposal instead? Why are we asking all these questions? And what are the odds that this rumor is anywhere near true?


Reel Sex

The past few weeks have been incredibly exciting for anyone following the curious case of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, the sexually adventurous stars of E.L. James’s erotic romance e-book Fifty Shades of Grey. What started off as a Twilight fan fiction has turned out to be at the center of an American literary explosion not seen since James’s own inspiration was up for auction at Little, Brown, and Company in 2007. Now the foreign erotica import has not only been snatched up for seven figures by a literary arm of Random House Publishing known as Vintage (I am shocked, honestly), but as Kate Erbland mentioned Monday it has also been optioned by Focus Features and Universal. This has been a very busy month for the British author, and I don’t even have the heart to hate her for it. As an unabashed fan of erotic romance novels, I was taken aback by the fervor this bondage novel has caused, but not for the reasons many of my colleagues and friends share. Although I do tend to favor BDSM in cinema, bondage in erotic literature has never been my favorite. I’ve often felt it to be far-fetched, overly clinical, and even a bit stale. I mean, as clinical and stale as sexual power play, leather cuffs, and object insertion can possibly be when story and character development take a back seat.  This isn’t to say something like Fifty Shades of Grey couldn’t change my mind, because it instantly intrigued me […]



Our long national nightmare is finally over! And, by “long national nightmare,” I mean Deadline Chico‘s rigorous and virile coverage of the inevitable rights-selling of E.L. James‘s “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Dedicated Deadliners will remember last week’s scramble to detail not only which studios and producers were going after the book-to-movie rights of the novel burning up e-reader screens all over the world, but just how they were actually getting to the meetings. By carpool, of course! That logistics nightmare is finally over, with Universal Pictures and Focus Features emerging victorious – Focus will reportedly market and distribute the film in a partnership with Universal. Ten studio heads allegedly “sweat[ed] it out” this weekend until the final decision was made. There is no word yet on how much the studios paid for the rights but, honestly, does anyone truly care? What is of interest when it comes the mechanics of the deal is that “the author and agent set approvals over things like script, director and lead cast, but they did not insist on a quick progress to production or even a guarantee that all three films would be made. Instead, their priority was to take their time and get it right as they target this love story explored through sexual politics, aimed at women 25-65.” James’s novel focuses on college student Anastasia Steele and her sexually charged relationship with sexy and dominant businessman Christian Grey. Grey, Steele, we get it. The book is just the first in an (of […]

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published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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