Fifty Shades of Grey

When Charlie Hunnam was cast as one of the two leads of Fifty Shades of Grey, fans reacted in big ways, not all of which were positive. Now the actor has dropped out of the film, with the stated reason being that he’s got too much work to do on Sons of Anarchy to “adequately prepare” for the film. Universal’s statement is below. We don’t know who might replace him, but expect that name to be announced soon. Read More »

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Fifty Shades Screentest

By now, Saturday Night Live‘s “screen test” bit is a tried and true staple. Star Wars and Back to the Future are two of the funnier examples of the sketch and, this past weekend, the NBC comedy show went a little more modern. Host Miley Cyrus, along with a slew of cast members, joked about actors such as Scarlett Johansson, Christoph Waltz, Seth Rogen, Emma Stone, Steve Harvey, Rebel Wilson and others auditioning for Fifty Shades of Grey.

Universal’s 2014 adaptation of the best selling romance/sex novel will actually star Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson but, below, see what it might look like if these other actors played the roles. Read More »

Johnson Hunnam 50 Shades

Outside of Star Wars, the cast that has probably been the subject of the most speculation in Hollywood is for Sam Taylor-Johnson‘s adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey. Speculation can now stop for the two major leads. Dakota Johnson, who appeared in The Social Network and 21 Jump Street as well as the Fox show Ben and Kate, has been officially cast as Anastasia Steele. Her male counterpart, Christian Grey, will be played by none other than Charlie Hunnam, star of Pacific Rim and Sons of Anarchy. Read More »

Fifty Shades of Grey

Briefly: The hottest book of 2011 and 2012 (hot in more ways than one) will be steaming up screens next summer. Producer Dana Brunetti revealed Fifty Shades of Grey, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and based on the erotic novel by E.L. James, will be released August 1, 2014. That means it opens against the Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy.

No word on casting yet, but expect some announcements soon. Read the full press release below. Read More »

Fifty Shades of Grey

Briefly: Even a casual observer knows that women direct far fewer big Hollywood films than men. So it’s interesting to see that the developing adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey — an extended S&M-lite sexual fantasy that has been decried as “mommy porn” as it tops sales charts — will be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. She has made only one major feature, Nowhere Boy, from 2009.

We don’t yet know much about plans that Focus is pulling together for the film, but if the movie is even vaguely as successful as the novel series, it’ll be huge.  Read More »

Fifty Shades of Grey

For months now Universal’s division Focus Features has been developing a film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, the runaway bestseller that began as Twilight fan fiction and grew into a sensation that turned every supermarket into a purveyor of bondage fantasies. The story follows the kinky romantic and sexual relationship between 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey and naive college student Anastasia Steele.

Producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti have been overseeing the creation of a script, written by Kelly Marcell, and trying to figure out who can direct the film. If faithful to the novel, the movie will have to be a hard-R drama with far more sexual overtones than we usually get in a studio film. Actually, to hell with overtones — this thing is just sex. Strip out the sex, and there’s barely a book. Not your typical studio fare, but that’s the lure of dollar signs for you. (And, keep in mind, Focus is among the few major players that can claim to have released an NC-17 film.)

Now the report is that Joe Wright, who has traded in both literary adaptations (Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina) and modern fantasy (Hanna) is the guy the producers want for the film.

Update: Wright won’t make the film. Details below.

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Gus Van Sant / Fifty Shades of Grey / Alex Pettyfer

It was around this time last year that Universal forked over $3 million or more to pick up the movie rights to Fifty Shades of Grey, author E.L. JamesTwilight fanfiction-turned-erotic bestseller. Despite the rumors that have been flying around since the beginning, though, the project still doesn’t have a director or stars attached. But apparently one guy who wants in is Gus Van Sant.

In a bid for the directing gig, Van Sant has shot a test reel of a steamy sex scene, with Magic Mike actor Alex Pettyfer playing kinky billionaire Christian Grey. This is by no means a confirmation that either of them will be involved in the final product. However, it may suggest that Van Sant is the kind of filmmaker Universal is looking for. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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Emma Watson

Ever since Universal picked up E.L. James‘ erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey last year, it seems like every other actress in Hollywood has been rumored for the female lead. Sometimes the gossip is based on an offhand remark made by the actress herself, but more often it seems to be inspired by nothing more than wishful thinking.

Last summer, one of the juiciest rumors making the rounds was that Emma Watson could be attached to star. Watson quickly debunked that claim, stressing that she hadn’t so much as seen a script, but in recent weeks her name’s cropped up again thanks to Anonymous’ hack of a German film studio. But it seems this story isn’t any more reliable than the last one was. The actress has now taken to Twitter to put an end to the talk once and for all. Read Watson’s comment after the jump.

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Universal is in an interesting position now. The studio is free of the contract with Hasbro that had it dedicated to developing board-game properties for some time, and has started to settle into a place where it floats on the performance of big comedies (Ted), the occasional well-chosen pop-culture adaptation (Les Miserables), and affordable franchise installments (Fast & Furious, Bourne) rather than massive tentpoles.

And so Universal is working on sequels to the giant hit Ted and horror performer Mama. In a new interview, studio chairman Adam Fogelson explains that he also may made an Identity Thief sequel (“we created great characters, so we’ll discuss how to re-pair Jason [Bateman] and Melissa going forward”) and an “at long last” film version of Wicked (“I believe that we are collectively moving toward Wicked coming to the screen sooner rather than later”).

But the real focus is on those franchise installments, including another Snow White and the Huntsman movie, and the new Mummy and Van Helsing films. Read More »

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