The Fifty Shades of Grey sequel has found a new writer.
Early reports suggested that the author of the blockbuster book series (E.L James) would pen the script but the gig has been awarded to Niall Leonard. Don’t worry if that name doesn’t ring any bells as Leonard has a background in UK TV, he has written episodes of Wild At Heart, Monarch of the Glen and mini-series Air Force One Is Down. Oh, and he also happens to be married to E.L James.
According to Deadline, Leonard was awarded the position after he wrote an outline for Fifty Shades Darker that appeased both the studio and James. Universal Pictures granted the author unprecedented levels of creative control of the movie adaptations of her books. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson quit the two planned sequels following numerous creative disagreements; E.L James is still expected to write the first draft of the script with Leonard taking over for subsequent drafts.
Fifty Shades of Grey has made almost $570 million worldwide, not bad for a series of books that started out as Twilight fan-fiction. It has nothing to do with the subject matter, but the Fifty Shades isn’t for me as I remain belligerent in my belief that a terrible book will usually make for a terrible movie. The label of good or bad when it comes to movies or books is subjective, but I don’t think anybody can say in all honesty that the Fifty Shades books are well-written masterpieces. It will be interesting to see how the sequel performs at the box office now that the novelty has worn off, the first film was hardly a critical darling and word of mouth was less than encouraging.
Fifty Shades Darker has yet to find a new director to replace Taylor-Johnson or fix a release date. Early word has it that Universal are aiming for a 2017 launch so we should expect an announcement on the director front before the summer kicks in.