Fifty Shades of Grey‘s Female Director May Leave Franchise, Universal Not Promising Any Sequels
My tastes are very...singular. As in one. As in just the lone film, please, thank-you.
Take all of this with a male-ego-sized grain of salt, but according to new reports those Fifty Shades of Grey sequels may be less officially-official than we originally thought—and if the series does return to spread its vile seed in theaters again, it may come with a new director.
Reports of Sam Taylor-Johnson’s departure come from an anonymous source, who told The Sun (grain of salt, remember):
Her relationship with Erika [Fifty Shades author E.L. James] has become toxic. They despise each other and blame each other for the problems with the film.
All the biggest arguments were about the sex scenes in the film. Erika wanted the movie to be loyal to the book and much more explicit.
In January, Taylor-Johnson herself told Vanity Fair that she and the Fifty Shades author had creative differences:
I kept trying to remind myself that they hired me for a reason. Some people said to me, ‘I’m surprised you haven’t quit.’ I was like, ‘Why would you think I’d quit?’ I never quit anything. Not without a fight.
We battled all the way through. She’d say the same. There were tough times and revelatory times. There were sparring contests. It was definitely not an easy process, but that doesn’t mean to say that it didn’t come out the right way.
In a statement earlier today, Universal confirmed it “has not yet announced anything pertaining to sequels”; a rep for Sam Taylor-Johnson also clarified, “All press reports are pure conjecture as the studio have not committed to a sequel as yet. We will not be making any further comment.”
In light of Fifty Shades’ box office success, it’s probably realistic to expect film adaptations of both Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed despite Universal’s denials (heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of those films was divided into two, Breaking Dawn-style). Considering the sequels glorify domestic abuse to an even greater extent than the original book (to name just a few of the behaviors idealized in the remainder of the series, Christian threatens his wife with non-consensual sex unless she changes her last name, punishes her for dressing against his wishes, and attempts to intimidate her into getting an abortion), I hope I’m wrong. But if I’m not, I’m crossing my fingers that Dakota Johnson (or another female director) stays along for the ride.
Fifty Shades of Grey (the film) is a perfect demonstration of how media can groom women for abuse, but one of the few silver linings to the movie’s success is that it also shows the potential box office power of female directors (Taylor-Johnson just had the highest-grossing opening weekend for a woman ever). I want sequels with any director like I want a hole in my head, but if the franchise pulls a Twilight and follows up with male-helmed sequels, Fifty Shades‘ one redeeming quality would be shot.
What do you think, gang? Do you see some light at the end of this puckered love cave, or are we in for two more movies and some new directors?