Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

'Fifty Shades of Grey': What Kind of Movie Could It Be, With What Cast?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 4, 2012 at 10:26AM

The only way EL James' notoriously erotic "Fifty Shades of Grey" will ever wind up a half-way decent movie will be if the filmmakers take the high road. Going with Focus Features was a step in the right direction.
52
Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling

The only way EL James' notoriously erotic "Fifty Shades of Grey" will ever wind up a half-way decent movie will be if the filmmakers take the high road.

Going with Universal co-chairman Donna Langley and Focus Features production exec Jeb Brody, who both successfully wooed Brit editor-turned-novelist James, who sought JK Rowling-like control over her project--was a step in the right direction. Given the rumored acquisition cost of some $5 million, the movie would need some names to pull audiences. And the only way to get stars on the order of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in "Eyes Wide Shut," which narrowly skirted an NC-17 in its day, is to promise top-notch quality via an A-list screenwriter and director.

While the novel started out as fan fiction inspired by Edward Cullen and Bella Swan in "Twilight," a much older vampire frozen at age 17 who woos a virginal everygirl teen, James' novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" tells the improbable romance of virginal college coed Anastasia Steele and young Seattle Master of the Universe Christian Grey. But while she seeks a loving relationship, he wants her to sign a contract stipulating rules of S & M engagement. The book is explicitly erotic as this smart and gorgeous but inexperienced young woman sexually comes of age under the guidance of this complicated and damaged young man, who is also in love, but prefers spanking, role play and bondage to "vanilla" sex.  

This article is related to: In The Works, Books


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.