Universal Pictures and Focus Features today announced that Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti are producing the film based on E L James #1 bestselling book, alongside James. The announcement was made by Universal Pictures Co-Chairman, Donna Langley and Focus Features’ Chief Executive Officer, James Schamus.
“Sam’s unique ability to gracefully showcase complex relationships dealing with love, emotion and sexual chemistry make her the ideal director to bring Christian and Anastasia’s relationship to life,” said De Luca. “E L James characters and vivid storytelling require a director who is willing to take risks and push the envelope where needed and Sam is a natural fit.
Taylor-Johnson most recently directed 2009s Nowhere Boy, the story of John Lennon’s childhood in Liverpool, where his fledgling genius found a kindred spirit in the teenage Paul McCartney. The film garnered two BAFTA nominations, including “Outstanding British Film” and “Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer.” Taylor-Johnson also directed the critically acclaimed short Love You More, which was nominated for the Palme D’Or in 2008. She is currently in development on a film for Columbia Pictures based on the novel by Robert Goorlick, “A Reliable Wife,” which is also being produced by De Luca.
“I am excited to be charged with the evolution of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ from page to screen,” said Taylor-Johnson. “For the legions of fans, I want to say that I will honor the power of Erika’s book and the characters of Christian and Anastasia. They are under my skin too.”
Universal Pictures and Focus Features acquired the rights to the three books in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy in March 2012. Focus Features will market and distribute the first film in partnership with Universal. “Fifty Shades of Grey” has become a global phenomenon and the trilogy has been translated in 50 languages worldwide since its release. To date, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has sold over 70 million copies worldwide in e-book and print, making it one of the fastest selling book series ever.
Fifty Shades of Grey follows the relationship of 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele. Subsequent novels in the series, “Fifty Shades Darker” (September 2011) and “Fifty Shades Freed” (January 2012) explore the couple’s deepening relationship.