The Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Has a Director. And It’s a Woman.
i'll just leave this here
I never thought I’d utter this sentence in relation to the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, but this is kind of… good news? Or at least better than it could have been.
It’s being reported that Sam Taylor-Johnson, director of the 2009 John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, has been chosen to direct the long-awaited by pretty much no one who reads this site (that’s a safe assumption, right?) film adaptation of E.L. James‘ Fifty Shades of Grey, the first book in the trilogy that introduced millions of women to (an inaccurate version of) the BSDM lifestyle. We’ve also heard some casting rumors, namely that Felicity Jones might be “in [the] mix” to play the lead and that Kick-Ass star Aaron Taylor-Johnson “won’t pursue” the role of Christian Grey. Thank goodness. The idea of the director’s husband playing the male lead in that movie is a bit too weird for me to handle, thank you very much.
So. A movie about female sexuality, based on a book marketed at females, actually has a female director? That’s… pretty cool actually, as it (hopefully) means the movie won’t be male gaze-y. Fifty Shades is the world’s most infamous example of “mommy porn,” after all. Not that there isn’t a general aura of wrongness about the male gaze, but if there’s any particular movie that shouldn’t be male gaze-y, it’s one that specifically focuses on celebrating female sexuality.
Granted, the way Fifty Shades “celebrates female sexuality” (notice the quotation marks, please) is extraordinarily problematic, particularly in terms of consent issues and the aforementioned grossly inaccurate representation of BDSM. Put succinctly, the book glorifies a sexually abusive relationship, and I can’t imagine that’ll change for the movie regardless of the gender of the director.
Barring fundamental, completely unlikely changes to the source material—barring a miracle, basically—this movie is still going to be gross and uncomfortable and problematic and probably just plain bad. But you know what? This gross, uncomfortable, problematic, bad movie is being made whether we like it or not. The fact that it’s being made by a female director is better than the alternative. That’s particularly true when you consider how incredibly rare it is for major studios to hire female directors. Whenever it does happen I consider it a good thing, regardless of whether the movie is good or… well, Fifty Shades of Grey.
That brings me to my final point. When I say I want more Hollywood movies directed by females, I don’t just mean I want more good Hollywood movies directed by females. Hell, give me your female-directed Schindler’s Lists and Lord of the Rings and The Avengers, but give me your Transformers and your Jack and Jills and, yes, your Fifty Shades of Greys, too. I want women to be given the same chance men are to direct whatever movies they want to make, and when some of those movies inevitably suck I want people not to say “Well, maybe there’s a good reason women didn’t direct so many movies before.”
Michael Bay directs bad movie after bad movie, and as long as they make money he’s allowed to keep making more.
Godspeed, Sam Taylor-Johnson. It’ll be a cold day in hell before I watch your movie. But godspeed all the same.
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