Author E.L. James Wants to Script 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Sequel Herself
Since the box office take for Fifty Shades of Grey was more than impressive (with over $311 million worldwide so far), it's a forgone conclusion that the sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, will be fast-tracked. After all, we already heard before the first film hit theaters that both Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed were going to move forward at Universal Pictures. However, it sounds like the second film in the series might get held up a little bit, because author E.L. James is seeking more control over the screenplay this time. Apparently this is what's holding up any movement to get the sequel in front of cameras quickly.
James had considerable control over the first film, which including casting approval of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), and also received a producer credit on the film. In fact, James was so involved on production that Sam Taylor-Johnson was rather exasperated and exhausted after the film was finished, so much that she questioned whether she wanted to make a movie ever again. The director told Variety:
“We disagreed a lot. She created these characters and the story. I was trying to create a film experience that would honor the book but at the same time give us a fresh perspective. That was difficult for her. We’d battle things out. I think you could say we crossed every scenario through our battles.”
So it's obvious why James wants control over the screenplay for the second film. It was Kelly Marcel who scripted the first film, but it sounds like both she and Taylor-Johnson will not be returning for Fifty Shades Darker. However, this is bad news for anyone who wants some semblance of quality writing, because there have been plenty of fans of the book who have said the film actually improved upon the poor writing in the book itself. So bringing in the author of the sub-par erotic novel to write the entire screenplay for the sequel doesn't sound like a good idea at all.
Anyway, with Fifty Shades Darker currently held up, there's no way for production to begin until the first quarter of 2016 at the earliest. So that means Universal won't be able to take advantage of a Valentine's Day release date again. But at this point, they can release the film anytime and people will turn up for it. In addition, the uncertainly of the production timetable is also holding back Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson from taking on other roles. It sounds like James needs to let go of her creation and let the filmmakers improve upon her lackluster material, and maybe make it a bit sexier. Thoughts?