The film adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey, released in 2015, was certainly a commercial success, although its critical reviews left a lot to be desired. Its impressive box office haul was hardly a surprise, however, since the series of source novels, written by E.L. James, had been a literary phenomenon for some time before. The film’s director, Sam Taylor-Johnson has often hinted at the experience of making the movie as being negative in nature, though, and now that she’s busy promoting her latest project, some more details on those issues have emerged.
Talking to The Sunday Times, Taylor-Johnson made clear that if she could go back in time, she would have steered clear of the project altogether, because she and the author of the books constantly clashed.
“With the benefit of hindsight would I go through it again? Of course I wouldn’t. I’d be mad. It was a struggle and there were lots of onset tête-à-têtes, with me trying to bat it into the [right] place. I like everyone — and I get really confused when they don’t like me. I was so confused by E.L. James. I don’t understand when I can’t navigate a person, when there’s no synergy.”
This seems to suggest that E.L. James – who shot to fame rapidly when her book series suddenly captured the imagination of readers around the world – made some attempt to micro-manage the story throughout the process. In a later conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Taylor-Johnson was able to elaborate.
“Two different creative visions. Her vision versus mine, and they were polar opposite. Every scene was fought over. It was tough. It was like wading uphill through sticky tar. Her thing was, ‘This is what the fans expect.’ I’d be like, ‘Well, let’s try and hit those marks but create a new universe at the same time.”
This is a fascinating conflict when viewed from the outside. A writer whose work has been embraced by millions – essentially making her a household name overnight – apparently seeks to protect the interests of the fandom that has elevated her to that lofty position, while the film director seeks to offer them something slightly more unexpected.
On the one hand, the desire of James is understandable – the movie would not have been put into production if the fans hadn’t become so fiercely engrossed by it. On the other hand, the source material is quite derivative (having been originally conceived as Twilight fan fiction), so the desire to add a fresh spin on the tale is equally justified. The work of screenwriter Kelly Marcel would certainly have improved the film, had it been given more of a chance to make it onto the screen.
While it’s unfortunate that one of the more high profile projects to be written and directed by women in recent years was ultimately so problematic, the Fifty Shades Of Grey experience has not slowed Sam Taylor-Johnson down at all – she’s now returned to the director’s chair for two episodes of the Netflix series Gypsy. That 10 chapter drama stars Naomi Watts as an obsessive therapist, and arrives on the streaming service on June 30th.
Source: Screen Rant