Fifty Shades of Grey Sequel to Be More of a Thriller

The upcoming sequel to the February, 2015 erotic film, Fifty Shades of Grey, will most likely be a thriller, according to Universal Pictures chairman, Donna Langley. Fifty Shades Darker, the second installment of the Grey saga, will be written by Niall Leonard who is married to Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James, whose real name is Erika Leonard.

Leonard, who has a day job writing for British television, is also the author of the moderately well-received Crusher trilogy, which includes Crusher (2012), Incinerator (2014) and Shredder (2015).  According to industry gossip, Leonard wrote Crusher, a rather violent suspense novel that was perhaps inappropriately marketed as a “for teen” novelin just 30 days to win a bet that he could do it. Even though he contributed to the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie, Leonard never received any recognition for his work.

Some insiders were not pleased that Universal Pictures hired Leonard to write the script, but Universal’s Langley apparently wanted to give Leonard a shot because he had actually done a draft that wasn’t credited on the first movie, and did a really good job, as Langley told The Hollywood Reporter. “Niall is an outstanding writer in his own right, with multiple established credits, and we are lucky to have him join Team Fifty,” agreed the movie’s producer Michael De Luca.

When Universal suggested some changes to the original story as recounted in the novels, James insisted on maintaining creative control over the film. That did not sit very well with Grey’s director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel, neither of whom have been invited back to work on the second installment.

James feuded with Taylor-Johnson over certain aspects of the movie, especially the ending. While the film was widely panned by critics, Dakota Johnson was praised for her performance as the sweet college graduate, Anastasia Steele, but Jamie Dornan was ridiculed for his portrayal as handsome businessman Christian Grey. Nevertheless, the film was a huge success at the box office, vindicating James. “For the record, the movie we ended up making is exactly the movie I wanted to make and that the studio wanted to make and that our director wanted to make,” Langley said.

Fifty Shades of Grey had an outstanding office box run with a worldwide gross that totaled $569.5 million dollars, according to US Magazine.  According to Yahoo News, “This year’s erotic tale of billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and his sadomasochistic relationship with college graduate Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) scored the biggest February box office opening ever.”

While Grey fans are fretfully anticipating  Darker’s  arrival in 2017, there are others who believe that the movie itself contains “violent and inappropriate content.” A prime example of this is #50dollarsnot50shades, an anti-Fifty Shades group that was launched on Twitter recently, which has been insinuating that the film portrays sexuality as being dangerous.

Dakota Johnson disagrees. “I know that a lot of people, before seeing the movie, were thinking that maybe it’s promoting abuse and violence, but I think it’s actually doing the opposite,” declared Johnson.

The plot is expected to thicken in the second segment of the Grey saga, with Anastasia having to deal with harassment from her employer at work while being stalked by Christian Grey’s former “submissives” outside the office, adding an element of suspense to the sexually charged atmosphere of the story line.

Fifty Shades Darker is set to be released on February 10, 2017.  The release date for the final installment, Fifty Shades Freed, has already been set at February 9, 2018. Each of the sequels will arrive just in time for Valentine’s day, as the first installment did.

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson will reprise their roles as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Universal has not found anyone to direct Darker just yet, but the production isn’t slated to begin until the first quarter of 2016, which gives the production company time to shop around for someone to helm the project.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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