By Anne Thompson & Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood October 8, 2012 at 3:42PM
Moving from "Mary Poppins" to erotic fiction overnight, screenwriter Kelly Marcel has been hired to write the adaptation of E.L. James' bestseller "Fifty Shades of Grey." Universal and Focus Features have the rights to all three books. Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti ("A Social Network") are producing.
Marcel penned the behind-the-scenes "Mary Poppins" story "Savings Mr. Banks," which is now in production with director John Lee Hancock and Tom Hanks (Walt Disney). She was also a writer/creator and exec producer behind the short-lived 2011 sci-fi TV series "Terra Nova," and is producing "The Madonnas of Echo Park" for HBO. Hiring a strong female screenwriter is a good sign, given the delicate nature of this S & M romance. The next question is who the director will be.
De Luca explains why they picked the writer: “Kelly's work demonstrates her flawless structural technique and passionate commitment to emotion, humor and depth of character."
Brunetti adds that "We were all taken with the depth and passion of Kelly’s engagement with the characters and world E. L. James has created, and we knew she was the right person to augment our 'Fifty Shades' family."
Erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” has sold over 32 million copies in the US, and has been translated into 45 languages worldwide. It's the fastest-selling book series ever and has sparked rampant casting speculation since news of the film adaptation broke earlier this year.