We are about six weeks out from the debut of the film adaptation of the erotic E L James book "Fifty Shades of Grey" at Universal Pictures and Focus Features.
The sexually-explicit story follows 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey (British actor Jamie Dornan--who was welcomed by the author) and 22-year-old virgin college student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson TV's Ben and Kate and The Social Network"), who develop a relationship steeped in bondage, S&M, domination and submission.
The film is already being labelled as misogynistic by some. But Dornan tells Elle UK that far too much attention has been paid to the kinkier parts of the story and not the core romance:
"The love story is more important than the BDSM aspect. I
mean, we are going to tell a love story, you know, it can't just be
what happens in the Red Room, that's not a film. There's so much more
going on than that."
Dornan has admitted that he visited sex clubs and dungeons to
research the role, saying he watched a show involving "a dominant with
one of his two submissives" and that theexperience had "plenty of
kink... and plenty laughter":
"I can understand why people say tying a woman up and
spanking her is misogynistic... But actually, more men are submissives
than women. Very powerful men. [I]t's a far bigger scene than I
imagined: in pretty much any city in the world that you could name,
people want to get spanked with a paddle with studs on it."
Dornan won the male lead after the sudden exit of Sons of Anarchy and Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam--who seemingly backed out for a number of reasons--causing a production delay
Dornan and Tony Award-nominated actor Billy Magnussen were screen tested at the same time.
The likes of Scott Eastwood ("Texas Chainsaw 3D," "Fury") Alexander Skarsgård Montreal-born François Arnaud Theo James Luke Bracey and Christian Cooke had also been attached to take over the coveted role after Hunam's exit.
The news of the initial lead casting led to a strong fan backlash, Several actors were sought for the film and passed. Ryan Gosling was one such Christian Grey option. Shailene Woodley, Felicity Jones, Alicia Vikander, Imogen Poots and Elizabeth Olsen were all under consideration for Anastasia. All passed due to lack of interest, scheduling conflicts and/or other reasons.
Ian Somerhalder, Matt Bomer, Newcomer Erik Odom and Henry Cavill have also been linked to play Christian. Arrow star Stephen Amell had a meeting about the role.
You'll recall that director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) and actor Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike) shot test scene recounting when the ingenue Anastasia Steele loses her virginity to Grey in Van Sant's bid for the gig.
"True Blood" co-star Luke Grimes will
play Elliot, Christian's adopted brother. Elliot is described as a
tall, muscular 30-something with curly blond hair and blue eyes. He ends
up in a romance with Anastasia's best friend (part has yet to be
cast). Jennifer Ehle will play Carla the mother of female lead Anastasia. Victor Rasuk plays
aspiring photographer Jose a classmate and friend of Anastasia Steele
who wants to be more. He ultimately becomes a rival for her affections
with businessman Christian Grey. Newcomer Eloise Mumford will
play Kate Kavanagh is Anastasia's best friend and her polar opposite.
She is also meant to be drop-dead gorgeous, leaving men panting. Max Martini, who starred in TV's The Unit and recently appeared in Pacific Rim has been cast to play Jason Taylor Christian Grey’s bodyguard. Singer Rita Ora plays Christian's sister Mia. Academy Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden will portray Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey, the adoptive mother of the Grey siblings. Callum Keith Rennie
plays Ray Steele, the stepfather of Anastasia Steele. Ray is
Anastasia's mother's ex-husband, whom Anastasia considers her "real"
father. In the book, Ray meets Anastasia's new love interest at her
college graduation. Anastasia has more than one stepfather. In the book,
her mother, Carla, is married to a man named Bob, who will be played
by Dylan Neal.
Sam Taylor-Johnson, best known for directing the 2009 film Nowhere Boy and being married to actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson directs the film after a lengthy search.
novel is the first in a planned trilogy. James has sold 31 million
e-book and print copies in English-language markets worldwide, in the
U.S. alone she has sold over 20 million copies in e-book and print.
Kelly Marcel wrote the initial adapted screenplay. She previously worked on "Terra Nova" and penned "Saving Mr. Banks". Oscar-nominated screenwriter Patrick Marber was tasked with the job of give performing a script rewrite and adding some extra character bits. The Wolverine writer Mark Bomback will do a quick polish of the script
"Moneyball" and "The Social Network" producers Mike De Luca and Dana Brunetti won a bidding war to produce the film version of "Shades"
Originally due out on August 1st 2014 release, it will now open on February 13th 2015, just in time for both the Valentine’s Day weekend and the President’s Day holiday.