Friday 20 October 2017

Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor Johnson: 'I have zero interests in the films'

Actors Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in a scene from the 2014 ‘50 Shades of Grey’ film
Actors Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in a scene from the 2014 ‘50 Shades of Grey’ film
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson, stars Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and E L James at the UK premiere of the movie.
Director of Fifty Shades of Grey Sam Taylor-Johnson.(Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Alice Vincent

Sam Taylor-Johnson has shed further light on the fractious relationships at the heart of the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation.

Artist-turned-director Taylor-Johnson directed the film version of EL James's record-breaking erotic novel in 2013, after several directors, including Stephen Soderbergh and Bill Condon were tied to the project.

But she has now said she would be "mad" to go through the process again in light of the difficult relationship she had with the author while making the film.

"I can never sat I regret it because that would just finish me off," she told The Sunday Times magazine. "With the benefit of hindsight would I go through it again? Of course I wouldn't. I'd be mad."

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson, stars Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and E L James at the UK premiere of the movie.
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson, stars Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and E L James at the UK premiere of the movie.

As for the sequels, Taylor-Johnson said: "I'm not going to ever watch them. I have literally zero interest."

Taylor-Johnson explained that making the film was "a struggle" as she and James had "lots of on-set tête-à-tetes, with me trying to bat it into the [right] place".

While Taylor-Johnson has spoken about the film's tempestuous making before, she admitted that she was confused by James's dislike of her: "I like everyone, and I get really confused when they don't like me," she said.

"I was so confused by EL James. I don't understand when I can't navigate a person, when there's no synergy".

Director of Fifty Shades of Grey Sam Taylor-Johnson.(Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Director of Fifty Shades of Grey Sam Taylor-Johnson.(Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The film was a commercial success, reaping more than $571 million at the global box office. But tensions emerged after James sought unprecedented control over the film's creation, with contract requests reportedly including approval over director, writer, cast, trailers and screenplay – a level of input that was considered almost unprecedented by Hollywood at the time.

James and Taylor-Johnson clashed over the film's sex scenes – James thought they should be more pronounced, while Taylor-Johnson preferred subtlety – and, famously, over the last line of the script: the director wanted her leading lady to use the safe word "red" to halt her lover's sado-masochistic whipping, while the author was insistent on the more obvious "stop".

In 2015 Taylor-Johnson explained that while she and James "definitely fought", their disputes were "creative" and "we would resolve them".

"We would have proper on-set barneys," she told Porter magazine. "I'm not confrontational, but it was about finding a way between the two of us, satisfying her vision of what she'd written as well as my need to visualise this person on screen."

Sources on-set were less guarded, telling The Hollywood Reporter at the time: "EL is just not experienced. She was given a lot of power but had never been through a movie shoot. [James] just didn't seem to grasp that in all adaptations, some things need to change. You can't just put the book on the screen."

Taylor-Johnson did not return to direct second Fifty Shades of Grey film, Fifty Shades Darker, nor did Fifty Shades of Grey screenwriter, Kelly Marcel. Instead, James's husband Niall Leonard, was brought in to write the sequel's script.

Telegraph.co.uk

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