Universal Pictures and Focus Features announced today that director Sam Taylor-Johnson has officially signed on to direct the film adaptation of E.L. James’ infamously erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti are producing.
Taylor-Johnson most recently directed 2009’s Nowhere Boy, the story of John Lennon’s childhood in Liverpool. The film earned two BAFTA nominations, including Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. Taylor-Johnson also directed the critically acclaimed short Love You More which was nominated for the Palme D’Or in 2008. She is currently in development on a film for Columbia Pictures based on the novel A Reliable Wife by Robert Goorlick, which is also being produced by De Luca.
In March 2012 Universal Pictures and Focus Features acquired the rights to the three books in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (yes, there’s a trilogy). The trilogy has been translated into 50 languages since its release. To date, the Fifty Shades trilogy has sold over 70 million copies worldwide. Fifty Shades of Grey follows the erotic relationship between college student Anastasia Steele and 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey.
“I am excited to be charged with the evolution of Fifty Shades of Grey from page to screen,” said Taylor-Johnson in the official press release. “For the legions of fans, I want to say that I will honor the power of Erika’s book and the characters of Christian and Anastasia. They are under my skin too.”
I haven’t read the books nor do I plan to anytime in the near future, but I feel that adapting this is going to be a daunting task for any filmmaker. Hopefully Sam Taylor-Johnson has what it takes. According to TheWrap, Darren Aronofsky was offered the directing gig but turned it down last month. Now that would’ve been interesting.