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Emma Watson and Elizabeth Olsen Downplay ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Rumors, Search For Lead Role Continues

The Playlist By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist August 1, 2012 at 11:42AM

Despite its less-than-refined origins, the team behind the film adaptation of EL James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” are ensuring in every way their end result will have some prestige. Focus Features (along with parent company Universal) have decided the film belongs in their library alongside “Pride and Prejudice” and “Brokeback Mountain,” and recently “The Social Network” producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti have come on board as well. However, it's the search for the female lead that’s really grown intense, but as more and more names are thrown into the mix, two talented actresses have now let the extent of their involvement, or indeed, lack of it, known.
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Fifty Shades Of Grey Elizabeth Olsen Emma Watson

Despite its less-than-refined origins, the team behind the film adaptation of EL James’Fifty Shades of Grey” are ensuring in every way their end result will have some prestige. Focus Features (along with parent company Universal) has decided the film belongs in their library alongside “Pride and Prejudice” and “Brokeback Mountain,” and recently “The Social Network” producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti came on board as well. However, it's the search for the female lead that’s really grown intense, but as more and more names are thrown into the mix, two talented actresses have now let the extent of their involvement, or indeed, lack of it, known.

Emma Watson has successfully kept her filmography varied since 'Harry Potter,' appearing this fall in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” while taking parts in both Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” and Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring.” Still, when her name was viewed as being up for the role of Anastasia Steele, the 22-year-old virginal post-grad, it appeared to be a daring maneuver into another franchise indeed, but the actress recently revealed that’s not the case. “I haven’t read the book, I haven’t a read a script, nothing,” Watson said, “There are so many movies you become attached to when I’ve literally never even received a phone call. It was the same way with “The Girl With the Dragon TattooI never even saw a script!” Watson is referring to David Fincher’s incredibly lengthy casting search for Lisbeth Salander in his 2011 adaptation, which was another well-publicized case of a major search for a literary character involving dozens of top actresses, before the role eventually went to Rooney Mara.

Another hot name on Anastasia’s casting sheet was “Martha Marcy May Marlene” star Elizabeth Olsen, but again, the actress denied having any involvement. However, in a change of pace she did expound on the more positive elements of the franchise. “It’s had a huge impact on society. Apparently rope sales have skyrocketed because women who’ve read the book are really getting into bondage, which is kind of great," Olsen commented, “It’s such a taboo for women to actually discuss sexuality without the help of Cosmopolitan. All of a sudden, this book has become a sensation because the women reading it haven’t had access to this kind of thing before. I was talking to a guy who was making a joke about it, saying, ‘Clearly these women just need to watch porn.’ In a way, he’s right.”

With those words, it’s suddenly very dismaying that Olsen may not be able to bring that humor and presence to the role, but she’s in plenty high demand for other intriguing projects anyway. So, the search continues for de Luca and Brunetti, and fans' attention will inevitably turn to names like Emma Roberts, Shailene Woodley, and Dakota Fanning, who've been rumored elsewhere. In reality, they have neither a script nor a director yet, so expect this kind of rumormongering to continue for months yet. Still, if they get stuck for ideas, we have our own thoughts on the matter, which you can read here. [EW/BulletMedia]

This article is related to: Emma Watson, Elizabeth Olsen, Fifty Shades of Grey


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