Before 2011, people would have looked at you a little funny if you said that you knew what Fifty Shades Of Grey was (and possibly thought you were looking to paint a room a boring color). Thanks to EL James, though, Fifty Shades Of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed have become the most discussed erotic fiction in recent memory. With the next movie in the Fifty Shades series set to hit theaters February 8, 2017, there's little wonder as to why curiosity (and interest) is starting to rise about the film series as a whole.
Who Is E.L. James, Anyways?
The woman born as Erika Mitchell was once a television executive, and resides in London. Surprisingly, James says she didn't start writing until after the Twilight series came out; she ended up reading the stories multiple times and then heard about fan fiction, which continues to be something of a pop culture phenomenon. After writing her own fan fiction, she sat down to write the Fifty Shades Of Grey series and hasn't looked back. In 2013, she made the Forbes top earning authors' list at $95 million, which included the $5 million she made in the sale of the film rights for Fifty Shades Of Grey. Now, she's listed as producer for the film versions of Fifty Shades Of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker.
'Fifty Shades Of Grey' (The Movie)
After the runaway popularity of the Fifty Shades Of Grey book trilogy, anticipation was huge for the film version of the first novel in the series. When Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson were cast as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, Dornan had been previously known best as Sheriff Graham in Once Upon A Time, and Johnson was perhaps really known best as the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, who'd dabbled in indie films before landing her role. However, no one could have foreseen the sexual tension between the two actors.
Fifty Shades Of Grey is the introductory film where we see Christian Grey (Dornan), a hugely successful but enigmatic businessman, encounter Anastasia Steele, an English Literature major. When Anastasia's friend, Kate, can't conduct her scheduled interview with Grey, she sends Anastasia in her place. Grey is instantly intrigued, but after meeting Anastasia for coffee, says he's not the man for her. He later sends her gifts, but she calls him and says she's returning them because his behavior is not appropriate. Surprisingly, he goes to meet her at the bar where she's celebrating graduation with friends but passes out. She wakes in his bed, relieved when he tells her they weren't intimate.
Intimacy is not what Grey is after, though. He explains that his tastes run towards bondage and other S&M practices, and he only allows intimate relations after a non-disclosure agreement is signed; he is, after all, a 27-year-old billionaire that has to protect his interests. After he and Anastasia have sex, he begins to offer her gifts — a new car, a new laptop — but is taken aback when Anastasia tells him she wants romance instead of the "no strings" relationship they've had to date. That's when things really get interesting between these lovers.
- In spite of generally unfavorable reviews, #FiftyShadesOfGrey still snagged $571 million worldwide.
- The Weekend scored a huge hit with "Earned It," the first release from the soundtrack.
- Charlie Hunnam, who was originally cast as Grey, had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts with FX's Son's Of Anarchy. That's when Dornan stepped in.
'Fifty Shades Darker,' February 2017
No one said love was easy, and after the way #FiftyShadesOfGrey ended, audiences — particularly those who did not read the novels — are intrigued to see what happens next between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.
Fifty Shades Of Grey ended with Anastasia and Grey at something of an impasse, where he was not able to provide what she really wanted from him: romance. Fifty Shades Darker continues the exploration of their relationship, with Grey realizing that he truly wants her. He ultimately agrees that he will resume their relationship on her terms, but as with all romances, there is always some element of the past that threatens to rear its ugly head.
Kim Basinger is making an appearance in #FiftyShadesDarker as Elena Lincoln, a young Christian Grey's dominant. As might be expected, Elena Lincoln's arrival on the scene is going to unsettle things a little for Anastasia. Of course, encountering Christian Grey's mom, played by Marcia Gay Harden, won't help matters much.
- A clean-shaven Jamie Dornan was not terribly appealing to fans, so producers agreed that for Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, Dornan could keep his stubble.
- This is not the first time that Kim Basinger has acted with a Johnson. She performed opposite Dakota Johnson's father, Don Johnson of Miami Vice fame, in the 1980 television series of From Here To Eternity.
'Fifty Shades Freed,' 2018
The final film in the Fifty Shades saga, #FiftyShadesFreed, is set to hit the big screen February 9, 2018, and there's little doubt that fans of the series are waiting breathlessly to see how the novel translates to the big screen.
At this point in the saga, Christian Grey and Anastasia are married, but before they can settle into wedded bliss, Jack Hyde is ready to take revenge against Anastasia and Grey because he was fired from SIP. Of course, how his revenge will take shape remains to be seen, but it's a lock that the relationship between Grey and his lady love will be on the line when this movie comes out.
- Unlike other popular novels that were translated to the big screen, this last novel in the franchise will not be broken into two parts, as it was for Twilight and Harry Potter.
- Filming for some scenes took place in Nice, France around the time of the terror attacks.
Fifty Shades Of Hot Romance
Regardless of whether you were a fan of the novel series or waited to see whether the novels hit the big screen, the Fifty Shades Of Grey series of films has gone on to become one of the hottest erotic films in recent years. While some have questioned the film series' softening of certain scenes from the novels, there is enough steam in the films to ensure sensual viewing to remember for a long time to come.
Which of the Fifty Shades series is your favorite?