Sam Taylor-Johnson

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?

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Fifty Shades of Grey

Well, perhaps she’s drunk on something else besides love. Money? Bestselling but terrible novels? Drunk on money? Drunk on fan fiction? Singing superstar and national treasure Beyonce recently took to her Instagram to share a teaser of the first trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey  — and, no, we don’t think it was Bey herself who brokered this deal or even uploaded the damn thing, no matter how much the chanteuse loves her social media (which is a lot) — but it still seems like a weird little bit of cross-promotion and marketing. Why does Beyonce (the brand, or the person, or whatever) want you to care about Fifty Shades of Grey? And is this even a good fit? The teaser is, quite notably, finely tuned for Beyonce’s very own tunage, because it sure sounds like it’s set to a slowed down, kind of creepy version of her “Crazy in Love.” Crazy something. Gird your loins and take a look:

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Jamie Dornan

It’s time to be honest about Fifty Shades of Grey. A flash in the pan elevated to feature status, it was always destined for jeers from non-fans (especially since people can write the source material off as terrible slash fiction so easily), and now that the production team at Universal and Focus have opted to sidestep the most vocal fan pleas on the casting front not once, but twice, there’s a real chance that even the people who care about it don’t care about it.

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Sam Taylor Johnson

There was some discussion after Universal and Focus Features locked down the hotly sought after rights to make Fifty Shades of Grey as to whether it was the kind of movie that had to have a female filmmaker at the helm. The answer is probably a little bit conflicting for everyone. On the one hand, it’s pleasant to imagine that a story that has seemed so focus toward and done so well with women would mean a natural opportunity for a bright female filmmaker to take part of the spotlight. On the other, who’s to say that any story necessitates one gender or another behind the camera? Tough questions that will linger beyond Fifty Shades, but at least for this film, Universal and Focus’ answer is no longer in the abstract. According to Variety, Sam Taylor-Johnson is going to take the job. A relative newcomer to the directing game, she has only Nowhere Boy under her belt when it comes to features. Of course she made a mark with it, earning several award nominations for the flick and its actors — one of whom is Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass, Anna Karenina). The pair met during filming and married soon after. The casting is far from finalized, but the Variety article claims a source vouching for Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a candidate for the lead Grey male role while The Wrap says he’s not going after it.

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