E L James will share writing tips and more in the leather-bound journal, to be released May 1.
By Driadonna Roland
“Fifty Shades of Grey” book cover
Photo: The Writer##Q##s Coffee Shop
Yesterday, Marvel announced a new partnership with book publisher Hyperion on a series of “action and adventure romance novel” targeting a female readership. “The She-Hulk Diaries” and “Rogue Touch” will supposedly explore the female protagonists of the comic book world in a way that’s more relatable to the modern woman reader.
While we’re not totally shocked by an apparent cash-grab for that sweet, sweet “Fifty Shades of Grey” money, it’s a little upsetting to see such a revered brand stooping to that level. But hey, it’s just business, and when it’s business, nothing sentimental can last.
With Marvel going down the road of the romance novel, it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing the same for “Star Wars,” so we beat Lucasfilm to the chase. Here’s how we imagine a series of “Star Wars” romance novels going down.
“My Only Hope”
A young rebel leader must seek help from the last place she suspected, Old Ben Kenobi, the former warrior from an age long passed. But when Leia develops feelings for the Jedi master, can she tell him the truth before he disappears forever?
“There Is Another”
A young rebel leader must seek help from the last place she suspected, Luke Skywalker, the young warrior studying in the beliefs of an age long passed. But when Leia develops feelings for the future Jedi, can she tell him the truth before a dark secret is revealed and takes him away forever?
“Human Cyborg Relations”
C-3PO is a droid with life full of drama. He’s on the run from the Galactic Empire, his best friend only communicates in beeps, and he’s desperately lonely. One day, he meets the man of his dreams, but there’s one problem. That guy just bought him.
Much like SM enthusiast Christian Grey, screenwriter Kelly Marcel knows how to titillate.
In a recent interview with The Sunday Times (excerpted in The Hollywood Reporter), Marcel revealed that she is “100 percent going there” with the big-screen adaptation of E L James’ best-selling “Fifty Shades of Grey,” claiming the film will receive an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America.
A rep for Universal — the studio producing “Fifty Shades” — quickly responded, telling THR, “A screenplay has not yet been written, a rating has not been designated, and we have no further comment.”
James’ tale of billionaire businessman Christian Grey and his inexperienced paramour Anastasia Steele is an undeniably saucy one, with plenty of explicit sex scenes and references to all manner of kinkery. Fans have long wondered how a cinematic version could possibly garner an R rating without erasing the bulk of erotic content that, let’s be honest, makes “Fifty Shades” what it is. So while Marcel’s NC-17 claims may have buoyed hopes for a thoroughly faithful adaptation, box-office experts told MTV News that an R rating is more likely (and financially viable).
“The source material for ‘Fifty Shades‘ was always destined to be a film that toed the NC-17 line,” Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock explained. “That said, there has never been a quantifiable success story for a film with an NC-17 rating, which is why you very rarely see one released anymore.”
To wit, the highest-grossing NC-17 film of all time, according to Box Office Mojo, is “Showgirls,” which since its release in 1995 has earned a little more than $20 million. In contrast, 2011′s much-talked-about “Shame,” starring Michael Fassbender, has grossed just under $4 million.
Historically, theater owners have been hesitant to show NC-17-rated films, making them a gamble for risk-averse studios. However, BoxOffice.com editor Phil Contrino said that stigma is mostly imagined nowadays.
“I highly doubt that the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ movie will be released in theaters with an NC-17 rating,” he said. “Even though the idea that major theater chains won’t play NC-17 films is largely a myth, there’s still a feeling that distributors lose out financially by choosing NC-17 over R. There’s a lot of money to be made here and an R rating is a safer bet from a financial standpoint.”
All of this doesn’t mean, however, that Marcel won’t deliver an NC-17-worthy script to Universal.
“My guess is they’ll make something that needs to be trimmed to get an R rating and then we’ll see an ‘unrated version’ on Blu-ray, which will help make the home market more lucrative after what’s sure to be an impressive theatrical run,” Contrino continued.
Bock agreed: “Odds are they may shoot an NC-17 script that will eventually be toned down in the editing process. Snip, snip…cut, cut.”
Regardless of whether “Fifty Shades of Grey” submits to an NC-17 rating or a less-financially-risky R, Box Office Guru editor Gitesh Pandya is confident the film will dominate the box office.
“Since so few films with [an NC-17] rating are ever released, and they are mostly small artsy pictures, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ would be a blockbuster for that rating since most of the audience is of age anyway,” he said. “But buzz about its rating this early in the process makes for some nice publicity. It should do gangbusters no matter what the rating is. The only thing that could make it go limp at the box office is if they fail to make a good movie.”
So are we headed for our first NC-17 blockbuster? We’ll know for sure laters, baby.
Will screenwriter Kelly Marcel be any match for Christian Grey and his Red Room of Pain? That’s the question on fans’ lips following the Monday (October 8) announcement from Universal Pictures and Focus Features that the “Terra Nova” creator will adapt E L James’ best-seller for the big screen.
Producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti were won over by Marcel’s story-telling strengths, saying in a statement, “Kelly’s work demonstrates her flawless structural technique and passionate commitment to emotion, humor and depth of character which is particularly visible in the celebrated screenplay for the upcoming ‘Saving Mr. Banks.’ “
Yet, as skilled as Marcel may be, she will have to overcome a number of obstacles in order to bring lovers Christian and Ana to life (the least of which will be weathering Bret Easton Ellis’ wrath). Let’s look at the five challenges Marcel faces:
Don’t pretend you weren’t thinking about it! It’s erotic fiction, after all, but the last thing the producers want is a pornographic film. Marcel will no doubt have to collaborate closely with the yet-to-be-selected director in order to find the sweet spot between silly smut and sound story-telling. After all, audiences will only tolerate so many instances of fade to black…
Boiled down to its basics, the main conflict in “Fifty Shades of Grey” is whether or not Ana will sign the submissive contract Christian places before her. That’s not a lot of story to pin an entire screenplay on. The tenuous plot works mostly in James’ novel because, well, all that sex is rather distracting. But it sounds as though producers want to craft a meaty narrative, not relying on all that kink-ery as a crutch. It will be tantamount for Marcel (likely in collaboration with James) to bring a bit more story-telling savvy to the script.
Christian and Ana are at their most vulnerable not while rolling around in the sheets but when exchanging multiple back-and-forth emails throughout their work days. The relationship development that occurs through these surprisingly open and honest missives cannot be chopped without, in turn, cutting out much of this story’s heart. That being said, who wants to sit through 20 minutes of email recitations? Marcel will need to puzzle out these exchanges without producing another Google Chrome commercial.
Christian Grey is, without question, one of the most damaged love interests in recent literary history. Abused as a child, his earlier traumas have left him cold, menacing and sadistic. Yet, somehow millions of readers have fallen in love with the brash billionaire. Whether that same adoration attaches to the big-screen iteration will depend on two things: Marcel crafting a redeeming character and the chosen actor transcending the vile and become the victorious.
This is probably more of a wish than an obstacle, but wouldn’t it be nice if the film appealed to both men and women, despite the novel’s reputation as “mommy porn”? We have a feeling the adaptation will be a success regardless (mark our words), but here’s to a titillating tale we can all enjoy.
Christian Grey isn’t the only one drafting up contracts.
Universal Pictures and Focus Features announced Monday (October 8) that producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti have tapped “Terra Nova” scribe Kelly Marcel to pen the big-screen adaptation of E L James’ best-selling erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
“Kelly’s work demonstrates her flawless structural technique and passionate commitment to emotion, humor and depth of character which is particularly visible in the celebrated screenplay for the upcoming ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ ” De Luca said in a statement.
“We were all taken with the depth and passion of Kelley’s [sic] engagement with the characters and world E L James has created and we knew she was the right person to augment our ‘Fifty Shades‘ family,” Brunetti added.
Speculation has run rampant as to which screenwriter would tackle the oft-fraught relationship between billionaire Christian Grey and his naive lover Anastasia Steele. “American Psycho” author Bret Easton Ellis had long campaigned for the job via Twitter, finally telling fans in August that he had been passed over for the gig.
With producers and a screenwriter now fastened in (so to speak), the next task will likely be securing a director. Rumors circulated earlier this year that Angelina Jolie had met with the studio, though that report was quickly debunked.
Of course, the most hotly debated topic is which actor and actress will sign on to enter Christian’s Red Room of Pain, with names like Alexander SkarsgÃ¥rd and Ian Somerhalder favored for Christian, while fans have clamored for Nina Dobrev and Lucy Hale (among others) for Ana.
The “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy has sold more than 32 million copies in e-book and print.
What do you think of Kelly Marcel penning the “Fifty Shades of Grey” script? Who would you like to play Christian and Ana?
There have been rumors of a “Magic Mike” sequel in the works, with the word on the street being that Channing Tatum will replace Steven Soderbergh as director. When MTV News saw Tatum at the premiere for his new film “10 Years,” we couldn’t resist asking him if he’s actually going to step up to the director’s chair for the first time.
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“Who wants to direct your first movie after Soderbergh? I’m not doing that. I’m a little smarter than that,” he said, adding, “Greg might do it. Greg Jacobs might do it. He’s a producing partner, they’ve worked together on maybe over 25 films so he might helm it.”
We might be jumping the gun about “Magic Mike 2″ entirely, though. The movie is far from greenlit, and Tatum confirmed that a lot of the rumors going out about the movie are just that: rumors.
“We don’t even know if it’s going to happen yet because we want it to be, we want it to happen and we’d love it to be a road trip movie but Soderbergh’s not directing. Like, done done. He’s like actually gone,” Tatum said. “It’s hard to imagine doing the movie without him.”
Costar Anthony Mackie crashed the interview, showing off what we assume is his own sort of dance that he’d use for a strip tease. When asked if he’d be in “Magic Mike 2,” Tatum responded, “We need some beautiful Mackilicious up in there!”
We couldn’t let Tatum get away without a few obligatory question about his next projects, chief among them the Wachowski’s return to sci-fi, “Jupiter Ascending.” Tatum said that project is definitely still happening, and will start shooting in February.
“They’ll change the game again, I guarantee it,” he said.
What about the chances he and wife Jenna Dewan will star in a “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie? “We’ll do our own ‘Fifty Shades‘ that no one gets to see,” he teased.
Would you want to see a “Magic Mike 2″ without Soderbergh involved? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter!
With all the hype and anticipation around who will play Christian Grey and Ana Steele when “Fifty Shades of Grey” hits the big screen, the woman behind the phenomenon, E L James, put her two cents in on who should play the roles.
“It’s a sort of collaborative effort. There’s a studio. There’s a production company. There’s two producers and at some point there’s going to be a director, so I’m sure everyone will have an input into that. I have three people who could play Christian,” she told Katie Couric on her talk show on Monday. “And I think four who could play Ana, and I’m not going to tell you any of them.”
No word on whether Justin Bieber is in the running. The singer recently made headlines when he joked on a U.K. talk show, “The Jonathan Ross Show,” that he was in talks to star in the film. While he may not actually be a contender to play billionaire playboy Christian, a number of other folks have been, including “Vampire Diaries” star Ian Somerhalder and most recently “The Canyons” actor (and adult film star) James Deen.
In addition to looking ahead to the in-the-works film, James also shared on Couric’s talks how that she might revisit the “Fifty Shades” story in the future, this time with more from the Christian POV. “Maybe. I actually hold Random House responsible for this, because they made me change from ‘Outtakes’ to ‘Shades of Christian’. I just put it in there as an outtake. He’s a very interesting headspace to be in, so maybe, but I’d like to try and write something else, and then maybe revisit him. He’s really hard work,” she laughed.
Production on “Fifty Shades” has been moving along all summer. “The Social Network” producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti were recruited to produce the film. Casting for the film’s leads has been heavily discussed with no real confirmation of who might tackle the kinky parts for the big screen. For a time Angelina Jolie was rumored to be a contender to direct, but that turned out to be nothing more than Internet fodder.
Who do you think should fill the roles of Christian Grey and Ana Steele on the big screen? Leave your picks in the comments section below!
Despite no longer being the guy picked to pen the script for the “Fifty Shades of Grey” big-screen adaptation, it seems that “The Canyons” screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis has some insider information about the casting of the film. He shared that information with his Twitter followers.
Over the weekend, he tweeted that “Canyons” actor James Deen (who has also starred in adult films) is in the running to play seductive, sexy billionaire Christian Grey in the film.
Ellis wrote, “Just got inside information that James Deen is actually in the running to play Christian in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ with [author] E.L. James support. ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ will be budgeted at 12-15 million and James Deen is on the list of actors to play Christian Grey according to source. ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ movie will DEFINITELY be written by a woman and the budget will be below 15 million. Ana will be played by an unknown.”
With the rumors picking up steam late Tuesday, Deen told MTV News in a statement, “As far as ‘Fifty Shades,’ I have no comment at this time, other than I would love to be involved and hope I could get considered for the role.”
While that is neither a confirmation nor a denial, the role would mark Deen’s latest move towards mainstream movies after making a name for himself in pornographic films. Production on “Fifty Shades” has been chugging along. Earlier this summer, “The Social Network” producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti were recruited to produce the film. Casting for the film’s leads of Christian and naive college coed Ana Steele have been heavily discussed with no real confirmation of who might tackle the kinky parts for the big screen.
With producers set for “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the casting process heating up, we’re guessing that plenty of actors and actresses are going to start throwing their names into the pot to play Christan Grey and Anastasia Steele in the adaptation of the hit erotic novel. The one man we didn’t expect to get in on the action? “The League” comedian Paul Scheer.
The actor posted his “audition tape” to College Humor, but it’s clear that he wasn’t very prepared to read for the part of Christian. After attempting some of the character’s more seductive lines, Scheer kept bursting out laughing and finally had to ask, “What is this book about?”
We didn’t know that there was anyone out there who still didn’t know that “Fifty Shades of Grey” is the erotic story inspired by “Twilight” that tells the story of two sexy twentysomethings getting it on for 500 pages. Once Scheer heard what he was actually auditioning for, he seemed much more interested, though we will ever forget his horrific attempt at being “sensual.”
For what it’s worth, we think Sheer would be a great pick for “Fifty Shades of Grey”… or at least his casting would get us interested enough to go see that version of the film. We just didn’t know he was so into the “butt stuff.”
Who do you think should play Christian Grey in “Fifty Shades of Grey”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter!
Sure, Robert Pattinson‘s guaranteed to leave us swooning when he sits down with MTV News tonight during “MTV First” to chat about his upcoming flick, the David Cronenberg-directed “Cosmopolis.” But before he gets all adorable again, we are looking back at some of Rob’s dishiest moments he’s had with us so far.
He’s sure to make some new memories during “MTV First: Robert Pattinson” when it all goes down at 7:49 p.m. ET on MTV and MTV.com, but until then you can get your fix with these adorable moments.
Rob Talks Dirty… in Polish
Right before his sweeping drama “Water for Elephants” hit theaters, Rob sat down with MTV News to open up about having to go bilingual for the flick. And, in the midst of sharing his experience of learning some key Polish phrases, he recalled making an international journalist a bit uncomfortable by their double entendre-ness.
“I only know five words in Polish, which are the elephant commands,” he said. “Which were ‘kneel,’ ‘open your mouth,’ ‘smile’ and ‘pray’.” Um, alrighty then.
Rob Calls Out Taylor Lautner For His “Painted-On” Abs
In “Breaking Dawn – Part 1,” Rob’s abs were on full display. And, while no one was complaining about seeing that much of the British actor on the big screen, some fans might have wondered how he got so buff for the role. Well, when he sat down with his “Twilight” co-stars to talk about it, he revealed his workout secrets.
“I didn’t drink any beer for a while. I went kind of nuts. Me and Kristen [Stewart] went nuts working out cause we hadn’t worked out,” laughs. “Everyone says I painted on my abs and I did not. Also Taylor has his painted on too.”
Rob Talks “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Earlier this summer, the “Twilight” crew sat down together again at Comic-Con in San Diego and they chatted all about the “Saga”-influenced best-selling piece of erotic fiction, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” “I’d just sit there and lick the pages,” Rob confessed. “What are we live on? Is this actually happening?”
Well, Rob, it’s all about to happen again tonight “MTV First.” Fans can tune in to hear what the “Twilight” star has to say when it all goes down at 7:49 p.m. ET on MTV and MTV.com.