EL James’ Husband To Write Movie Sequel Script


EL James, the author of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, has enlisted her husband to write the script for the sequel. Niall Leonard, who is married and has two sons with the British author, is an author himself, in addition to being a screenwriter. He’s written for the British TV shows Air Force One Is Down and Wire in the Blood, among others. He’s also the author of the Crusher book series. He worked on the script for the first Fifty Shades, but was not credited.

“Niall is an outstanding writer in his own right, with multiple established credits, and we are lucky to have him join Team Fifty,” says producer Michael De Luca.

James, whose real name is Erika Leonard, has been credited with keeping a strong amount of creative control when it comes to Universal’s adaptations of her books. On the first film, she clashed with director Sam Taylor-Johnson about many aspects of the film, including the ending. Neither Taylor-Johnson nor screenwriter Kelly Marcel are returning for the sequel. Due to the exit of Taylor-Johnson and Marcel, and the fact that stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, are negotiating for more money for the sequel, there hasn’t been much news on the follow-up. The first film earned a massive $568.8 million worldwide.

There have been rumors circling that James wanted to write the screenplay herself. But having her husband work on it may be a happy compromise since he has screenwriting experience that James lacks.

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Fifty Shades Of Grey – The Author and The Director


Erika Leonard, better known as E. L. James, is the 51-year-old British author who created a compendium of her sexual fantasies, called the book Fifty Shades of Grey, and watched in shock as the book and its two sequels (Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed) sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, making her more than $100 million.

Now meet Sam Taylor-Johnson, the director of the first film in the Fifty Shades trilogy. Like James, Taylor-Johnson is British. Taylor-Johnson, now 47, was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 29. At 33, breast cancer. At 40, divorced. None of these experiences, she said, did anything but make her stronger. “I’ve experienced, you know, a few major challenges in my life, and I think it definitely gave me a determination to go feet first into things,” she said. Has making Fifty Shades been a challenge? “Oh, yes, definitely,” she said. “But once you’ve experienced the kind of fear I’ve experienced, the fear of taking on something big like Fifty Shades is a silly fear, that’s just fear of your own ego.”

There are few book-to-film projects in recent memory that have been as anticipated, debated, and kept under wraps as Fifty Shades of Grey. E. L. James says, “When I started out writing Fifty Shades and sharing it with friends on the Internet, I had no idea this is where this would all lead. But when they went viral and started selling in millions, Hollywood came calling, and the demand for a movie, from studios and from fans, became almost overwhelming. I used to work in TV [as a producer], and I enjoyed it, but like a lot of TV people, I’d always wondered how it would be to work on a movie. I thought this would be my one opportunity. There’s a special thrill seeing what used to exist only in your head and on the page up there on a screen for an audience to experience together. In a way, your daydreams come to life before your eyes, if not always in exactly the way you imagined.”

When the Fifty Shades film rights came up for sale in 2012, they created an explosion in Hollywood. At least six studios and dozens of producers were interested. Focus Features won the rights, paying what’s thought to be as much as $5 million, with a far bigger than usual slice of the gross proceeds for the author. James was thrilled, and not just about the finances. She made sure she’d be involved in an immense number of decisions, including Fifty Shades’ casting, script, and choice of director.

With an estimated budget of $40 million, James and the team set about finding a writer, director, and cast. The job of screenwriter ultimately went to Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks), yet another British woman in early middle age.

Casting Fifty Shades was a little like the casting of Gone with the Wind, with the country engaged in a debate about who should play Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara. Should Mila Kunis play Anastasia? Emma Watson? Not all of these women actually wanted to be in the movie, a career gamble considering the racy material. After Dakota Johnson auditioned, the team was basically sold.

The role of Christian was much harder to cast. James had her heart set on Robert Pattinson, her inspiration for Christian,—but eventually settled on Charlie Hunnam, the rough, blond star of Sons of Anarchy. Later, Taylor-Johnson and the team pivoted to Jamie Dornan, who stars in the hit BBC series The Fall. “It’s common knowledge the casting process had its ups and downs, but I was won over by Dakota and Jamie—they seemed the perfect fit,” says James.

In Vancouver, when production started, James came to the set every day. “One day I remember really well was the very first day of shooting,” she says. “I was impressed by how calm and focused everything was on set. But, in fact, there were more than a few tense moments. James was an amateur among sophisticates. Taylor-Johnson had her own ideas about how to shoot the film, including the sex scenes. Their knowledge of film and reference points was completely different.

James didn’t have much to do with set design, other than sketching floor plans for Christian’s penthouse, which helped production designer David Wasco incorporate doors and corridors leading to rooms and annexes used in Books II and III. “His spaces are tightly controlled, the art and furnishings, the architecture, all deliberately chosen with an undeniable sophistication but completely devoid of feeling other than an isolated aloofness,” says Wasco.

James, however, had her own ideas not only for the script, which she guarded fiercely, but also for the dialogue, the costumes—and the sex. The sex scenes, Taylor-James says, are tastefully handled: “Its details, flesh and fingers and skin and eyes and looks.” She thinks that if you saw the actual sex “the mystery would be gone. You see a lot, but you don’t have to see anything graphic.”

So….will the movie be a hit? Time will tell.

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Get A Jump On The Year’s Movies By Reading These Novels Headed To The Screen


Screen adaptations are awesome, but reading the book first puts you a step ahead. Not only do you know what will happen, you’ll also see what the screenwriters cut from the original story. Here are some titles be headed to the big screen in the next months:

“The Mortdecai Trilogy” by Kyril Bonfiglioli — The comedic crime novels have been turned into a film, “Mortdecai,” set for release Jan. 23. Johnny Depp stars as Charlie Mortdecai, an art dealer searching for a stolen painting. The quirky story also stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor.

“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith — The zombie parody of the Jane Austen classic is set to hit the big screen in 2015, with “Downton Abbey” actress Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet.

The “Last Apprentice” series by Joseph Delaney — The fantasy series follows Thomas Ward, a farmhand who discovers he has the power to protect his county from a witch. The film, called “Seventh Son,” stars Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, will be released Feb. 6.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James — The blockbuster erotic romance novel will hit theaters on Valentine’s Day, but don’t expect the movie to be as explicit as the book. Some things had to be toned down to assure an R rating. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan star.

“Paper Towns” by John Green — This young adult novel got the green light to be filmed almost immediately after the success of “The Fault in Our Stars.” Nat Wolff, one of that 2014 film’s young stars, here has the lead role of Quentin, a teenager trying to decipher the mystery behind the girl he is in love with, Margo (Cara Delevingne). The movie has a June release.

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins — Fans will have to wait until November to see what happens in the second half of the series. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has to deal with a brainwashed Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and realizes her business in the Capitol isn’t over yet.

“Brooklyn” by Colm Toibin — The film of Toibin’s novel follows a young woman (Saoirse Ronan) who emigrates from Ireland to Brooklyn in the 1950s. She falls in love there, but a tragedy forces her to return home.

“Insurgent” by Veronica Roth — This sequel to “Divergent” follows Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) as they try to discover the history of Tris’ family. If they want answers, they’ll have to fight the Erudites.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

PAGE TO SCREEN ~ Fifty Shades of Grey


Imagine this….EL James is terrified about the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey . She says, “You don’t expect this kind of success. My only ambition for the books was to see them in bookstores. And there is this passionate fandom; we need to get this right for them.”

And what of the film’s stars? Jamie Dornan, the former Calvin Klein model who landed the role, commented,  “There was a slight fear.” And For Dakota Johnson, daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, it meant seriously working out for the first time in her life. “Obviously, I want to look good naked,” With its prominent bumps and cast changes along the way, the film is now bound up….in production until Valentines Day, 2015.

Keep current on all literary hot topics by tuning into the Book Report.

Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James has a new obsession

THIS news is heady….with dark notes of seduction. Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James has a new obsession….. making wine. Bottles of Red Satin or White Silk….”Handcuffs not included,” are currently available for 17.99 at the authors website, and will soon be at your local retailers.

James says, “I’ve always had a penchant for good wine, so combining two of my passions is a natural extension of the Fifty Shades trilogy,” Red Satin is a “decadent” blend of Petite Sirahs. White Silk is a “delicately playful” blend of Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc, The wines, were personallyblended by James working with California winemakers.

So… you may want to have a glass on your way to see the upcoming movie based on the books.  CIN CIN.

But, if you’d like to enjoy your wine with a GREAT book….tune into my show, The Book Report.