Did I miss a memo? Did Sony sell the Fifty Shades of Grey movie rights to the South African government? Because hey ho, nepotism! In a move that should come as no surprise to anybody that has followed the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of the bestselling “mommy porn” novel series turned erotic drama, THR reports that Niall Leonard, husband of Fifty Shades author E.L. James, has been picked to pen the upcoming movie sequel Fifty Shades Darker.
The reason for Leonard’s hiring was of course due to original lead screenwriter Kelly Marcel choosing to not return to the production for the planned sequel along with director Sam Taylor-Johnson. Throughout the production of the first film, stories flew in regularly about the constant butting of heads between the film’s creative team and James, who had managed to negotiate her way into practically unprecedented levels of creative control when she sold the movie rights of her books to Sony. Reportedly, a tyrannical James wanted to weigh in on every miniscule aspect of the movie, and constantly wanted to push the adaptation to be closer to the book’s extreme sexuality.
The irony of course is that while reviews for the movie were overall not kind, it was praised for being better than the trashy, poorly written books by ditching all the things that James apparently wanted to include. Despite the criticism, and a record-breaking second week drop-off due to bad word of mouth, Fifty Shades still had a big enough opening weekend to justifiably call it a huge financial success, and thus the sequel.
The sequel that may have been pushed back as James then insisted that she should be the only one to write the script. That may not officially be what happened here, but lets face facts: it actually is. To his credit, Leonard does actually have some writing experience, having written a few novels as well as doing some screenwriting for a couple of BBC TV series. But we all actually know that even though a different writer is getting credited, it’s really still James who essentially gets to say what what’s.
And based on what I’ve read of the books, what she has to say may just drive away whatever goodwill this movie franchise currently has going for it (that tampon scene, anybody?). Hell, they’ve almost driven off their two stars already.
Last Updated: April 24, 2015