Sam Taylor-Johnson, the woman responsible for bringing E.L. James’ smash hit debut novel to the big screen has officially parted ways with the franchise and has formally announced that she will not return to direct the sequel.
Amidst rumours of on-set confrontations with the novel’s writer, this news should come as no surprise. The word is, E.L. James exercised the ‘creative control’ aspect of her contract way too much during the first movie in an attempt to make the scenes as accurately presented as the words in her book whilst clashing with Taylor-Johnson, who tried to translate it more as a cinematic movie.
In an official statement released by Mrs Taylor-Johnson given to Deadline.com, she said:
“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 relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially with Dakota and Jamie. 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’s nothing new for a popular film franchise to lose the director of it’s first film. Catherine Hardwicke, who helmed the first Twilight movie, didn’t return due to “time restriction”, the same reason Gary Ross, director of The Hunger Games gave when he opted out of helming the smash-hit sequel.
Fifty Shades of Grey, released on Valentine’s weekend, was a box office hit, but gained overwhelmingly negative reviews with most critics praising Dakota Johnson’s performance and even the direction, but slamming the script.
As to who has the balls – pun intended – to direct the next movie of the series, Fifty Shades Darker, set for release in 2016, is unknown at this stage.