Given the popularity and success of the Fifty Shades trilogy, everyone is betting that it’s only a matter of time before a movie adaptation goes into production. Professional interest in a Fifty Shades of Grey movie is actually high. In fact, big studios such as Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Paramount, and Universal Pictures have all bid to snag the film rights.
Universal Pictures and Focus Features ultimately won the rights to turn the trilogy into a film franchise, reportedly spending $5 million dollars to get author E.L.James’ blessing. Granting James’ request to have script and casting control may have also worked in the studios’ favor. British screenwriter Kelly Marcel (TV’s Terra Nova) was eventually tapped to write the screenplay.
The phenomenal novel Fifty Shades of Grey follows the steamy romance that blossomed between a college student named Anastasia Steele and wealthy twenty-something Christian Grey. These lead parts are now among the most sought after roles in Hollywood. Actresses who have been rumored to be in the running to play Anastasia include Mila Kunis, Kristen Stewart, Kate Beckinsale, Anna Kendrick, and Alexis Bledel. Emma Watson was also said to be interested but she has since shut down the rumors.
As for the part of the troubled young entrepreneur Christian, television stars Matt Bomer and Ian Somerhalder are the top favorites of the trilogy’s followers. Somerhalder’s suave appeal and his role as the hot, bad boy vampire Damon in the series Vampire Diaries have convinced many fans that he has what it takes to play Christian Grey. The actor won’t confirm anything about his involvement but reports said that he finds the story interesting. Physically, Matt Bomer is also good fit for the part. The fact that the producers are not going for a big star associated with any particular film or television properties might be a good thing for Bomer if ever he auditions.
Speaking of auditions, one actor who has confirmed that he was approached for the role was Stephen Amell, star of CW’s Arrow. However, he recently revealed on his Facebook account that he is not interested about the part anymore. No reason was given regarding his decision.
Back in June 2012, Angelina Jolie was said to be interested in directing the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. But Universal executives have come forward and denied the rumors. At one point, the name of Pride & Prejudice helmer Joe Wright emerged as a top contender for the director’s spot. Apparently, it turned out to be just another rumor as well.
So far, the time that the project came “closest” to having someone in the director’s chair was when Gus Van Sant shot a screen test for the producers in April 2013. The Good Will Hunting director reportedly shot a steamy sex scene in a bid to get the directorial job. Van Sant’s scene featured Alex Pettyfer of Magic Mike as Christian Grey but there are no reports on who played Anastasia. Pettyfer’s involvement doesn’t mean that he’s a shoe in for the part, though. As of the moment, no director and cast members have been attached yet.