One of the biggest selling books of all time makes its way to the big screen this week. Any expectation that the big-screen adaptation of E.L. James’ best-selling erotic romance novel will merely be soft porn dressed up as multiplex mulch was somewhat scuppered when acclaimed art installation guru and mighty fine film director Sam Taylor-Johnson (NOWHERE BOY) signed on the dotted line. Our own Seamus McGarvey is the man behind the camera, and early word from the man himself is that this movie will be more than just a one-night stand. Below are 10 facts about the movie…
TWILIGHT FAN FICTION
FIFTY SHADES began life as TWILIGHT fan fiction. Originally called ‘Masters of the Universe’, it featured TWILIGHT characters Edward Cullen and Bella Swan, and was published on fan fiction websites and James’ own website, before she pulled it down before the books were published.
WHO WILL PLAY CHRISTIAN GREY?
Although there was talk of casting TWILIGHT stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson as Ana and Christian, author E.L. James thought this would be ‘weird’. Ryan Gosling, Garrett Hedlund and Stephen Amell all turned down the role of Christian. Charlie Hunnam was originally cast in the role, but dropped out due to his schedule for SONS OF ANARCHY, and was replaced by Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan.
Turns out your partner wasn’t just searching the Internet for recipes and kitten videos. Millions of us tuned in for the premiere of the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY trailer when it was released on sites like Movies.ie, making it the most viewed trailer of 2014. It was knocked off the number one spot in October by the trailer for AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, but quickly clawed back the coveted position in mid-December.
ENTER SAM TAYLOR-JOHNSON
Angelina Jolie turned down the chance to direct FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, Joe Wright (director of ATONEMENT & PRIDE & PREJUDICE) was also considered, but his schedule was unworkable. Visual artist Sam Taylor-Johnson, best known for directing NOWHERE BOY, was announced as helmer in 2013.
The audition for the role of Ana Steele included reading a monologue from Ingmar Bergman’s 1996 film intense psychological drama PERSONA. The monologue was used to see if those auditioning could maturely and comfortably handle the sexually charged subject matter of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. Apparently, Dakota Johnson (daughter of actress Melanie Griffith & actor Don Johnson) could!
Some people consider the book so steamy that a ban was placed on it in several libraries in the United States due to it ‘not meeting guidelines’. To keep the movie from controversy one of the most famous and explicit sex scenes from the book will not appear in the film. In fact director Sam Taylor-Johnson said that ‘it was never even discussed’ as to whether the scene involving female hygiene products was going to be in the film, and it was never going to be shot.
When Jamie Dornan revealed that he would not do full frontal nudity in the film, there was uproar from die-hard fans of the book, who were worried that the highly sexual source material had been toned down for the screen. Since the film was given an R Rating in the US for ‘for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behaviour and graphic nudity, and for language’ we don’t think fans have anything to worry about.
Beyoncé recorded a new version of her hit song ‘Crazy in Love’ for the film’s trailer, and the official soundtrack to the film is shaping up to be one of the best of the year. As well as songs from Sia, The Weeknd, The Rolling Stones and Ellie Goulding, the soundtrack features Annie Lennox’s cover version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ ‘I Put A Spell On You’.
There’s a lot of people excited to see this movie… American movie site Fandango has already announced FIFTY SHADES OF GREY as the fastest selling R-Rated title in their history. Demand is such that cinemas have already scheduled additional screenings, and the film is projected to take $40-$50 million in its opening weekend. Phew!
There have been over 100 million copies of the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY book sold, more than HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS and THE DAVINCI CODE. It has inspired a clothing range and inspired a hotel chain to replace the Bibles in hotel rooms with copies of the book. It’s also been responsible for an increase of duct tape, cable ties and rope at hardware stores. Some of the shops on Dublin’s Capel Street are also getting in on the action, their window displays this month are boasting a range of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY products.
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is at Irish cinemas from February 13th 2015