Since the acquisition of the 50 Shades trilogy by Universal Pictures and Focus Features back in March 2012, rumors have been flooding the internet as to who will be attached to this potentially NC-17 rated film. And though Armie Hammer has officially turned down the role of Christian Grey, Deadline reports today that Sam Taylor-Johnson has signed on to direct.
Taylor-Johnson made her directorial debut in 2009′s Nowhere Boy, a British biopic about the early life of John Lennon. She was nominated for BAFTA for her restrained, low-key approach to the film. An assortment of names, including Gus Van Sant, have been circulating as to who would helm this project, and the news of Taylor-Johnson comes as a surprise. But it is, perhaps, her ability to capture complex relationships that make her the perfect fit for E.L. James’s bestseller. The story about the relationship of 27-year-old billionaire and college student will be adapted for the screen by fellow Brit Kelly Marcel.
News of Taylor-Johnson’s attachment comes right after an announcement by Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger and The Social Network) that he will not be starring in the film. The 26-year-old actor rejected his agent’s plans to place him in the upcoming movie because he considers the erotic novel to be little more than “mummy porn.” Though he was not actually offered the movie, his rejection seems to reflect A-listers’ hesitancy to join a project steeped in so much eroticism. Emma Watson, who was rumored early to be cast as Anastasia Steele, firmly denounced any involvement, tweeting: “Who here actually thinks I would do 50 Shades of Grey as a movie? Like really. For real. In real life.”
It should be noted that Taylor-Johnson is the wife of Kick-Ass star Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played John Lennon in Nowhere Boy. The director’s hiring immediately prompts speculation that her husband will be considered for the role of Christian Grey.