EXCLUSIVE: The coveted role of Anastasia Steele has gone to Dakota Johnson in the Universal Pictures and Focus Features adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey.
Johnson, who is the daughter of actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, will star as the young college graduate who has a sexual awakening with Christian Grey, a young industrialist who takes her virginity. She falls in love with him, but his insistence she take the role of submissive and open herself to his S&M fantasies leaves her emotionally torn because otherwise he is the perfect guy. They’ve yet to cast Grey, and rumors have abounded about such actors as Sons Of Anarchy‘s Charlie Hunnam. Word on that is coming soon. [UPDATE: Hunnam has officially won the role.] The film will be released by Focus Features on August 1, 2014 in North America. It is being directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and produced by Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti alongside author E L James, whose erotic novel trilogy has sold over 70 million books worldwide. Kelly Marcel wrote the script.
The word about Ms. Johnson’s casting in Fifty Shades of Grey first came from the author. Johnson, who was among the young actresses rumored to be in the running has appeared in such films as The Social Network, on which De Luca and Brunetti were producers. Need for Speed, 21 Jump Street, and Universal Pictures’ The Five-Year Engagement are her other credits. She also starred as Kate in the Fox Network comedy series Ben and Kate, which aired during the 2012-2013 season. Ms. Johnson is currently shooting the feature film Cymbeline.
Related: Charlie Hunnam Cast As Christian Grey In ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’
Kelly Marcel To Write ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ For Universal And Focus
Sam Taylor-Johnson To Direct ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’
It is not surprising the role went to a newcomer. Nudity and erotic situations are plentiful in the book, and the movie will be no different, even though all involved are determined to get the film to an R rating. Johnson is repped by WME and Management 360.
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. Read More »
The hot legal battle between Universal and a porn producer over a hardcore adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey has been settled in the studio’s favor. Universal, book rights holder Fifty … Read More »
Author E.L. James, who was inspired by Stephenie Meyer’s The Twilight Saga to write Fifty Shades Of Grey, has in turn given the equivalent of literary Viagra to the steamy fiction genre. There are a ton of knockoffs … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: You know that the gazillion-selling steamy novel trilogy Fifty Shades Of Grey has reached outlandish proportions when The New York Post devotes today’s front cover to the idea that women are stocking … Read More »
Ever since Deadline broke the story that Universal Pictures and Focus Features won screen rights to the E.L. James novel Fifty Shades Of Grey for in the neighborhood of $4 million against 5% of first dollar gross, the line of suitors who didn’t get it are treating it like the Lord Voldemort of auction titles — it’s the missed opportunity whose name must not be spoken. While buyers have moved on to the possible book franchise of the moment — Lissa Price’s YA body-switching title Starters – there might be another bite at the forbidden fruit of that S&M romance novel, which started as Twilight fan fiction, was rewritten by the author as an erotic romance trilogy, and became an e-book sensation that sparked multiple millions in publishing and film deals.
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EXCLUSIVE: Ending the wildest book-to-movie auction in recent and distant memory, Universal Pictures and Focus Features have acquired screen rights to E.L. James’ steamy novel Fifty Shades Of Grey. Focus Features … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The auction is underway for author E.L. James’ steam potboiler 50 Shades of Grey. I’m told that offer sheets went out this morning. They include a strong list of approvals that studios usually don’t … Read More »
By Thursday, author E.L. James and her British lit agent Valerie Hoskins will have completed a surreal round of meetings with the heads of studios, monied production companies and top producers for screen rights to 50 Shades of Grey. The … Read More »