Sam Taylor-Johnson, formally known as Sam Taylor-Wood before marrying actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, directed the hugely talked-about adult drama Fifty Shades of Grey which graced screens February of this year, but has decided to call it quits after just one film despite the planning of two sequels. A movie about a sadomasochistic relationship between a young student Anastasia Steele and businessman Christian Grey, it has already made £375m ($560m) at the worldwide box office. It was adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name, which sold over 100 million copies worldwide and had been translated into over 50 languages.
It is well known that Taylor-Johnson and E.L James did not see eye-to-eye during the production of the movie, which lead to ideas that the director would not return to her directing chair for the two future films. Unlike with other book-to-film productions, the writer of the novel, E.L. James wanted to have a strong influence on the movie, which caused a huge clash between writer and director. Taylor-Johnson spoke about the tension on set with Vanity Fair magazine, stating: “We battled all the way through. She’d say the same. There were tough times and revelatory times. There were sparring contests. It was definitely not an easy process.” But despite this she mentioned that she was “hugely grateful” at being given the opportunity to direct the book-to-film blockbuster and stated that “Directing Fifty Shades of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey… I have Universal [Studios] to thank for that.” She wished “nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenge of films two and three.”
Taylor-Johnson spoke openly about her work on the movie and how it affected her personally. She pointed out how she felt she was “going out of my mind.” She told Red magazine that she needs to “get off and breathe and think about something else.” She has, in her own words, “… practically eaten it. I have read it over and over.”
Jamie Dornan who plays Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson who plays Anastasia Steele are currently expected to reprise their roles for the second film. However, it is also rumoured that Kelly Marcel, the writer for Fifty Shades has also opted out of the movie sequels. According to Variety, after first submitting the script for the first movie they were told to revise the story to focus more on the romance between Christian and Anastasia and lessen the sexual content. This created clashes between Marcel and James, which later led to having extra help in the hands of Patrick Marber. The film was scheduled for release in 2017, but due to these problems it’s speculated that the movie may have to be delayed until the newly vacated positions are filled.
Here’s wishing luck to Taylor-Johnson in her future projects!