Ever since it burst onto the scene, from seemingly nowhere, the erotic novel, 50 Shades of Grey has generated discussion, debate, controversy and fascination. As the trilogy grew in popularity, the idea of a film adaptation followed close behind. Everyone had an opinion on it: should a film be made? How many films would work? Who should play Christian? Who should be Ana? Then in March 2012, Deadline broke the news that Universal Pictures and Focus Features had acquired the rights to produce a 50 Shades movie. As soon as the news hit, speculation on how exactly they would translate this sexual awakening novel to the screen was rife.
Luckily for us, and perhaps unluckily for them, this job falls to writer Kelly Marcel, director Sam Taylor-Johnson and the film’s producers Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca. With the novels having sold a whooping 70 million copies worldwide (not to mention the number of copies that have been shared among friends), it would appear the film has a built in audience to guarantee its box office gold. How many of those readers, however, are going to want to sit in a dark cinema with hundreds of the general public watching Charlie Hunnam (Christian Grey) and Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele), getting hot, heavy and a little bit kinky?
Based on the subject matter alone, the film is certain to have a big fat NC-17 (or R depending on where you live) certification slapped onto it. Now generally films do everything in their power to slip under this classification as producers know that the biggest filmgoers are those that can’t get into those rated films. Whether the studio will allow Marcel to maintain the NC-17 rating remains to be seen. If they do decide to cater to a younger and achieve the lower rating, it would be at the expense of the explicit sex scenes. And let’s face it… what really is 50 Shades of Grey without the sex scenes? It’s not exactly full of complex characters, involving storylines and climactic cliffhangers and resolutions.
The folks over at Digital Spy have been pondering this and have worked through ways that the books can be replicated on the big screen. In fact, they claim that handled in the right way, the movie has the potential of being infinitely better than its source… especially if Marcel does away with Ana’s annoying “Inner Goddess”.
No matter what form the film takes and what is included or excluded, you can be sure that someone will take offense and bemoan how the trilogy was brought to life. We’ve already seen this happen with the casting announcements of Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson as the leads. Fans of the novel will be able to see for themselves August 1 2014 when the movie opens.