Mike Fleming

UPDATE, 9:36 AM: Forget the trade reports that Joe Wright will be director of Fifty Shades Of Grey. His schedule doesn’t work and he’s completely out of the mix, I’ve learned. The process of choosing a director for the global blockbuster book has just begun, and all Universal can hope is that audiences get as hot and bothered when the film is released, as journos are in spinning rumors based on little more than preliminary conversations.

PREVIOUS, FRIDAY AM: Gotta call bullshit on the spate of reports that say Joe Wright either has the directing job or is close to getting it on Fifty Shades Of Grey, the Focus/Universal adaptation of the E.L. James sexy novel trilogy. The script by Kelly Marcel is in, and there’s no question that Focus, Universal and producers Mike De Luca and Dana Brunetti are beginning the search for a director. Insiders tell me this process has just begun — I don’t think anyone has evaluated that spec scene that Gus Van Sant directed with Alex Pettyfer, the one that prompted some outlets to report the actor was set to play Christian Grey. It is too early to call a winner, or even assemble a real short list. These trade reports are coy, and they are firing a rifle filled with buckshot, covering themselves by naming a number of other directors. I checked and several of those other directors named haven’t even been approached. Wright is certainly a fine director and a contender, though his past films put him in an art house category and this film has the opportunity to be a big, hard-R-rated global mainstream blockbuster, based on reported sales of over 70 million copies worldwide. A Joe Wright-directed 50 Shades Of Grey? Don’t dress for it, at least not yet.