(The following piece is written by contributor Matt Shorr)
Hey, do you remember Fifty Shades of Grey? The trilogy that was really Twilight fanfic that somehow blew up into a 70,000,000-strong global phenomenon because it dealt with S&M in a sort-of non-porny way but was pretty porny–but again, not!–because your mother-in-law and the receptionist at your dentist’s office were reading it without using a fake dust jacket? I bet you remember it now but hadn’t thought about it in a year or so, unless you were one of the few people who didn’t return the handcuffs and ball-gag unopened to your nearest adult novelty store a couple months after you bought them because you, um, just didn’t get around to it.
Anyway, you may also remember that studios were attempting to strike while the iron was steamy and get the inevitable movies out yesterday. Well, stuff happens, as it usually does when trying to get movies made from flash-in-the-pan books/authors. The newest rumors involve Dakota Johnson as
Bella Impressionable Ingenue Anastasia “Ana” Steele (Johnson is best known for her work as Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith’s daughter, and possibly The Social Network), and Charlie Hunnam as Acqua Di Gio Model (Hunnam is just coming off of his Pacific Rim job). Though studio and Hunnam sources deny this, we’re running with it because in any given 20 minutes it takes to proofread and post this, someone else will be a favorite for the role.
There’s probably still money to be made if this thing gets out quickly, even if the roles get filled by whoever played Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins in your high school’s production of My Fair Lady, which at this rate, they will be. And the studios are on it, giving an expected release date of…August 14, 2014?! Are you serious? Another year, if everything goes perfectly? I have bananas that will be fresher in a year. Sure, you’ll get the light bondage crowd to see it and the occasional skeev who buys a ticket for Fastestest and Furiousest 7 but sneaks into Fifty Shades of Grey only to be sorely disappointed (sorry, no way this gets rated NC-17, and dude, you can scratch that itch on the internet in the privacy of your own home). But beyond those demographics, it doesn’t seem likely that a mainstream theater release, with its communal feel and non-peepshow surroundings, will pull in nearly the numbers that the book did. Maybe the producers are counting on healthy sales of downloads and DVDs, whose taglines will by law be required to include the phrase “forbidden desires.”
This writer, at least, doesn’t care who gets cast. I’m not going to see it no matter who fills the roles. Unless Christina Hendricks plays Ana and Sofia Vergara plays Christian. Then I’ll wait for it on Netflix.