By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood March 28, 2012 at 12:37PM
As The Hunger Games was getting ready to take the box office by storm, a 40-something former TV executive from England with two kids E.L. James (not her real name) and her literary agent Valerie Hoskins were sitting out in Hollywood taking pitches from all the studios who were all falling over themselves to get the rights to make the film version of her books (there are three of them).
A bit of background - the books are being touted as "mommy porn." They have been passed around by women like a crack pipe and you can't find them in stores. (They are being re-released in paperback next month and are available now on e-readers.) The descrition in a nutshell: 27-year old billionaire dude Christian Grey is into S/M. He lures college student Anastasia Steele into being his submissive.
I have not read the books (has anyone reading this read them?) but I am a bit put off by the description of the story. It's also interesting to note that the book started out as Twilight fan fiction online was called Master of the Universe and the lead characters were called Edward and Bella.
Hollywood is excited because finally they are seeing the light of the female market and can see the franchise potential in this. Universal and Focus Features were the winners of the bidding war and are said to have paid around $5 million. James told EW they went with Focus because they handle difficult material and gave her the approvals she wanted.
Difficult is an understatement here. Twilight was successful as a film because of women young and older -- this movie because of the graphic sexual content won't be able to attract the tweens and teens. But, there are complications. Will women want to see a film about a man who lures a younger woman into a relationship like this? Will they be able to not make it sound so creepy- cause it really does.
But this really has touched a nerve with women and that is something to take seriously. And I'm guessing the controversy has just begun which will enhance people's interest.
Here's the description of the book from the author's website:
When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.
The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her too - but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.
Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?
I will check out the first book at least and I will wait and see how the film develops.
Mommy Porn Is Making its Way to a Theater Near You (Atlantic Wire)
Why Some Find "Fifty Shades Of Grey" Disturbing, New Film Adaptation Announced, Erotic Novel Generates Controversy (International Business Times)