E.L. James Demands Script Control On Fifty Shades Darker

Our safety word: 'Yikes'

With Fifty Shades Of Grey just passing 300 Million Shades Of Green around the world’s box offices, the sequel(s) are rumbling inevitably into life. Like one of Christian Grey’s hot and heavy red room sessions, albeit with more lawyers present, control and domination are the watchwords. Variety reports that author E.L. James is demanding more creative control before she’s willing to okay Fifty Shades Darker.

The huge sums accrued by the film to date present Universal with a two-edged sword. James’s already formidable bargaining position is strengthened as the studio looks to re-up the creative team. A new director and writer are likely to be required and James, flexing her muscles in early talks, is said to want screenwriting duties for herself.

While Universal has thus far been reluctant to accede, more talks lie ahead. “The studio had always intended to sit down with the author after the film opened and discuss next steps, and that has not yet happened,” a Universal spokesman told Variety.

The critical consensus has been that the filmmakers on Fifty Shades Of Grey – director Taylor Wood and screenwriter Kelly Marcel – magicked James’s cloth-eared dialogue and ponderous prose into effective character beats elevated by strong central performances, particularly from Dakota Johnson. Unlike J. K. Rowling, who was an active Harry Potter collaborator when required but faded into the background at other times, James will be there every step of the way on this one. It will be interesting to see which director will be next to submit themselves to her oversight.

What does this mean for the sequel? With production unlikely to get underway until early 2016, fans will be waiting until the end of next year or early in 2017 before seeing Fifty Shades Darker.