Wednesday 16 August 2017

Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor Johnson reveals author EL James didn't like her and filming was 'a struggle'

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson, actors Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and author E.L. James attend the UK Premiere of
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson, actors Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and author E.L. James attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor Johnson has revealed the full extent of her clash with author EL James.

Rumours of tension between the two women on set have abounded since the 2014 shoot, but the director has now confirmed that they clashed and said she would be "mad" to do it again.

The film adaptation of James' best-selling erotic novel had had several directors including Stephen Soderbegh and Bill Condon attached before Taylor Johnson came on board.

In an unusual move, EL James was given a lot of power on set, reportedly with control over the creative process including director, writer, cast, trailers and screenplay, and her ideas clashed with those of Johnson.

Sam Taylor-Johnson
Sam Taylor-Johnson

Speaking to The Sunday Times, the director said, "I can never say I regret it because that would just finish me off.

"With the benefit of hindsight would I go through it again? Of course I wouldn't. I'd be mad."

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

She said she felt the author did not like her and was confused by this.

"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".

Their main point of contention was the sex scenes which are pivotal to the story. The women had completely opposing views on how they should be presented.  EL James wanted them to be explicit while Taylor Johnson wanted them to be more subtle.

Despite the fact that the film was a huge commercial success, Taylor Johnson did not return to direct the sequel, Fifty Shades Darker.

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