So there's still little to no news about when we can expect production to start on the next instalment in the Fifty Shades of Grey film franchise, though they're certainly in no rush given that Fifty Shades Darker isn't due to be released until February 2017, with Fifty Shades Freed following up in 2018.
Cast & Crew
So far we know that James Foley is on board to direct, replacing Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson who declined to return for the sequel after the nightmare of working with E. L. James, which Taylor-Johnson described as an "incredibly painful process." E. L. James' husband Niall Leonard will pen the script for Fifty Shades Darker, so good luck James Foley I guess.
So at the moment the only cast members that we have confirmed are those who are reprising their roles from this year's box office hit and critical flop Fifty Shades of Grey:
Dakota Johnson - Anastasia Steele
Jamie Dornan - Christian Grey
Rita Ora - Mia Grey
Eloise Mumford - Kate
Max Martini - Taylor
Luke Grimes - Elliot Grey
Victor Rasuk - José Rodriguez
One role still to be filled which has caused much discussion amongst fans is that of Leila Williams, an ex-submissive of Christian Grey who shows up during Fifty Shades Darker to throw more spanners into the already very mixed up relationship between Grey and Ana.
As well rounded and developed a character as Ana herself, Leila left Grey around two and half years before the events of Fifty Shades of Grey to marry her husband, who she then left for a lover who then died in a car crash.
She looks like Ana because Ana is the centre of the universe, but unlike Ana actually has some semblance of a personality. Or at least she did until she had a mental breakdown, slicing her wrists open during Fifty Shades of Grey in an attempt to get Grey's attention.
During Fifty Shades Darker she then starts stalking Ana, and the whole mess cumulates in her threatening the defenceless Miss Steele at gunpoint. Thankfully the day is saved by Grey because of course it is, and she's shipped off to the mental hospital. Bye Leila!
Who's Playing Leila In Fifty Shades Darker?
A number of actress have been rumoured for this career making role, including Katie Cassidy who is currently playing Black Canary / Laurel Lance in DC's Arrow. Most recently however whispers of Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale being up for the role have started up, fuelled by Hale's recent risqué photoshoot with Paper magazine.
Though Hale described her initial Fifty Shades of Grey audition as "uncomfortable" rumours still persist that she's going to show up in Fifty Shades Darker on the basis of this photoshoot which features ropes and bondage flavoured clothing, though it's all still very safe for work.
But here's a mad idea, just because Hale may or may not have a "kinky" side doesn't necessarily mean she's interested in Fifty Shades of Grey. Fifty Shades is by no means the be all and end of everything to do with kink and BDSM, it's merely what has popularised a faux-image of what it means to engage in such practices.
Keep in mind that the majority of the BDSM community have rejected Fifty Shades as "domestic abuse" and "dangerous". As Mistress Couple of BDSM training chateau La Domaine Esemar said to HuffPost Entertainment:
"BDSM is about creating vulnerability, opening yourself up to your partner in a way you can trust them to take you to some of these dark places that are considered taboo overall, but in a loving way. That’s what’s missing from the 'Fifty Shades of Grey.' Christian continuously violates [Ana's] trust and her ability to feel safe, and that any person in their right mind would get out of a relationship that’s like that."
So I wouldn't hold your breath over Lucy Hale appearing in Fifty Shades Darker, particularly if she is familiar with the particulars of BDSM and kink as has been suggested in relation to her supposed role as Leila. As Hale herself said:
"There are plenty of hidden secrets about me. Those [secrets] will remain hidden."