ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

The Fifty Shades of Grey screenwriter is so upset about the way her creative vision to breathe life into the characters was quashed that she can't even bring herself to watch the movie.

Kelly Marcel was initially excited to work on the big screen adaption of the smash hit book, she told author Bret Easton Ellis on his podcast that:

I... agreed to read the book and read it and then, having read it, much like you, I was like, ‘Oh, this is a movie and it’s something really, really interesting

After she was signed on for the project however, things did not work out as planned for Marcel, who had been specifically hired by Sam Taylor-Johnson to flesh out the characters to give them more emotional depth.

Kelly Marcel
Kelly Marcel

Marcel's vision for the movie was for something a lot more dark, brooding and erotically tense, she explained to Easton Ellis that:

I didn’t want it to be linear. I wanted it to begin at the end of the film and for us to kind of meet in the middle and, so, you start with the spanking and have these sort of flashes that go throughout the film. You know, because we had a problem in the third act, I felt like if you moved times that might help the situation. I wanted to take the ‘inner goddess’ out, and you know, all of [Ana’s] inner monologue. And [filmmakers] were cool with that.

...You know, I wanted to remove a lot of the dialogue. Like, it could be a very sexy film if there wasn’t so much talking in it. And so that’s really the script that I initially delivered. And it was quite dark, the first draft I wrote... It very much concentrated on Christian’s pain

Unfortunately, Marcel soon found out that pleasing E.L. James was the primary goal according to the production company and all of the creative freedoms she had been promised were a farce, she explained:

I very much wanted to do something different with the screenplay, and when I spoke to the studio and the producers and made that quite clear, they were very enthusiastic about that and kind of loved the things I wanted to do. When I delivered that script was when I realized that all of them saying, ‘Yeah, absolutely this is what we want,’ and, ‘You can write anything you like and get crazy and artistic with it’ — that was utter, utter bullshit

Although Marcel receives sole recognition for the screenplay in the movies’s credits, she was eventually replaced by Mark Bomback and Patrick Marber.

Mark Bomback, who 'polised' Marcel's script is best known for action movies such as Wolverine
Mark Bomback, who 'polised' Marcel's script is best known for action movies such as Wolverine

Marcel still hasn't seen Fifty Shades of Grey, despite her involvement with the movie, she explained that she has chosen not to view the film because:

My heart really was broken by that process, I really mean it . It’s not that I don’t see it out of any kind of bitterness or anger or anything like that. I just don’t feel like I can watch it without feeling some pain about how different it is to what I initially wrote

(Source: Jezebel and Bret Easton Ellis Podcast)


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