For months now, Fifty Shades Darker news has been mostly limited to discussion about whether or not the Grey sequel is in trouble. The good news for fans of E.L. James' sexy franchise? It's full steam ahead, and as pre-production gets going on the James Foley-directed film, the cast have been free to discuss the real question on everybody's lips: how steamy will Darker be?
If this new interview given by Mr. Grey himself is anything to go by, the answer is: quite steamy indeed. Here's what Jamie Dornan told People Magazine a few days back:
"I'm looking forward to embodying Christian again... and getting a chance to show more of him."
Okay, so there's a chance that Dornan is just being coy here, but it certainly sounds like he's hinting that Fifty Shades fans will get something a little more risqué from Darker than Grey offered this February. And when you consider Dakota Johnson's words from last week...
I don’t have any problem doing anything. The secret is I have no shame. I think there's a part of a woman that wants to be the thing that breaks a man down.
...it begins to sound like the PR team behind the movies are making a careful attempt to prep the audience for something slightly more NSFW.
Which, obviously, is a good thing, but also begs the question: to what extent will Foley and the team behind Darker want to trade on the sex appeal of their two stars, and will getting a little more X-rated have a positive or a negative effect at the box office?
It wouldn't be the first time a sequel had pushed the boundaries further than the original. One obvious example comes to mind...
When sequels get dark...
Remember Batman Begins? No, didn't think so. The first film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy was by no means bad, but it was a bit tame. The Dark Knight ramped up the violence in a big way, not just in terms of blood and gore but psychological trauma too. The sequel was better received both critically and commercially, although whether it should have really been rated 12A/PG-13 or upgraded to 15/R is somewhat debatable. Either way, it goes to show that using your sequel to push the boundaries further doesn't have to mean diminished returns at the box office.
But Fifty Shades probably isn't comparable with a superhero flick, and there aren't many other movies out there doing the whole romantic/erotic thriller thing right now. The problem Darker inherits from the first film is that it needs to decide which side of that line it wants to straddle - is it romantic (and therefore the tame nature of the sex is not a problem) or is erotic (in which case, we need more flesh)? Let's not write the film off before it's even started shooting - under Foley, there's plenty of chance for this franchise to find its identity.
Perhaps we might even be lucky enough to witness Ana's inner goddess "doing the dance of the seven veils" (if only on the X-rated director's cut).
What's your take? Is it worth pushing the boundaries in terms of sex if it means risking audience appeal and box office returns, or will the prospect of Jamie Dornan "embodying" Mr. Grey a little more fully turn out to be a good thing for Darker's prospects? Share your thoughts in the comments!