Back in February, just a few days after Fifty Shades of Grey opened in theaters, a report surfaced that claimed director Sam Taylor-Johnson is not coming back to direct the sequel, Fifty Shades Darker. Screenwriter Kelly Marcel is also not expected to come back, since author E.L. James is reportedly demanding to write the screenplay herself. The sequel still doesn’t have an official green light yet, but today, Sam Taylor-Johnson issued an statement to Deadline that confirms she is parting ways with the Fifty Shades franchise. Here’s what she had to say below.
“Directing Fifty Shades of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful. I have Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota (Johnson) and Jamie (Dornan). While I will not be returning to direct the sequels, I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three.”
It isn’t known if Universal is actively seeking a director to take over for both Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed quite yet. Stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are under contract to return as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey for both follow-ups, but we reported earlier this month that they both want significant raises, since the first movie turned out to be such a big hit. There have been rumors of clashes between Sam Taylor-Johnson and E.L. James, who had an enormous amount of creative control for a first-time author, as she tried to please the fans of her books as much as possible. We reported earlier this month that Universal is eyeing an early 2016 production start date for Fifty Shades Darker, and planned release date for early 2017.
Fifty Shades of Grey has earned over $164 million domestically and $558 million worldwide, from just a $40 million production budget. Who do you think should take the helm on Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed? Let us know what you think below.
Fifty Shades of Grey was released February 13th, 2015 and stars Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Luke Grimes, Jennifer Ehle, Eloise Mumford, Rita Ora, Marcia Gay Harden, Max Martini. The film is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson.