Sam Taylor-Johnson has landed a much coveted gig in Hollywood: she will be directing the adaptation of E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey.
The filmmaker (Nowhere Boy), photographer, and installation artist apparently angled hard for the gig, and beat out none other than Gus Van Sant to get it. There’s no word on if her young husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson is in any way being considered for the lead male role (I’d suspect not). According to The Wrap, Taylor-Johnson got the job because she quite simply gets it…
“The trick of this movie is making it Not Porn,” said a studio executive who knows Taylor-Johnson. “She can shoot characters. She’s very sexy. She can push that envelope. She shoots magnificent portraits. Not many women can handle that material. It’s edgy stuff. What woman feels comfortable with dildos and sex toys and domination? One way is to immerse yourself in that world.”
Yeah, what woman would possibly feel comfortable with dildos, much less adult toys or kinky sex? Traditionally it’s only men who feel any comfort around dildos, of course.
Pardon me for a moment, but let’s just sit and reflect on that for what it is: one of the dumbest fucking things ever said on-record by a nameless studio executive. Let’s also reflect on what it means when it’s not hyperbole to say so. It’s that dumb.
In any event, the mega-blockbuster utter-dogshit erotic novel has been set at Universal Pictures in association with Focus Features for over a year. The bidding war that won Universal the property (for whatever sum beat Sony’s $5m offer) really marks the explosion point at which this Kindle-fueled reading phenomenon became big news and a cultural punchline. It was also at this point that some people’s job became about taking Twilight slashfic written at a ninth-grade level as seriously as they might a real book.
Since then there’s been a winding road of speculation about writers, directors, casting and more. Word was that Sasha Grey might be interested or that Mila Kunis was the studio’s pic, all while Bret Easton Ellis launched a sad campaign to land the gig. Eventually the writer of Tom Hank’s Walt Disney biopic, Saving Mr. Banks, took on scripting duties and at one point even made the dubious promise that the film would be “100% going there.”
Though we’re now halfway through the year, Universal has made it clear this film is a priority, as it should be. Anyone actually posturing as if they don’t see how this film will be successful is either being willfully obtuse or simply stupid. The series has sold over 70 million copies, and is one of the fastest selling series ever published. It’s bigger than The Hunger Games. For real, deal with it.