Fifty Shades Darker finally begins shooting in Vancouver next month, after what feels like a lifetime of idle speculation about directors, nudity and the size of Jamie Dornan's... salary. Get your mind out of the gutter.
The shoot begins on Tuesday, February 9, so if you happen to be in Vancouver in February or March you might well catch a glimpse of some vaguely famous people in the street, which is pretty thrilling.
Melty has the gossip, which also reveals that the film's production budget is somewhere in the $20 million region. What's curious about that is that Fifty Shades of Grey enjoyed a budget of $40 million and went on to make $570 million, which after marketing and distribution costs would usually work out at a very healthy profit of around $200 million.
On that basis, there isn't really much logic in slashing the budget for Darker, although considering the fact that it will shoot back-to-back with Freed, it could be that the two films have a combined $40 million budget which works out roughly comparable to Grey. On the other hand, it could be that the Director's Guild of Canada published an incorrect figure in error.
Elsewhere in the world of Fifty Shades, Dakota Johnson was honoured with a gong for Favourite Dramatic Movie Actress at the People's Choice Awards this month, and if a PCA isn't exactly an Oscar, at least it's not a Razzie. Also nominated in the category were Kate Winslet and Rachel McAdams. I'm sure both are thrilled for Dakota.
Speaking with Vogue, Jamie Dornan had high praise for his co-star when recounting his first impression of working with her on Grey:
“Dakota is very funny, and humor on a film set goes a long way. But she also had the ability to be a very strong dramatic actress. She’d be telling a joke one minute and breaking your heart on-screen the next—so she was perfect.”
Johnson may be experiencing much increased fame as a result of the Fifty Shades movies, but considering her background, she's probably pretty well prepared; her mother is Oscar-nominated actress Melanie Griffith, and her mother is the legendary Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Birds.
When Griffith was still a teenager, Hedren and her then-husband Noel Marshall produced a film about lions titled Roar, and during production the family actually lived with lions in their LA home, eventually moving to a rural ranch because the neighbours felt nervous about having actual, wild lions perusing the streets...
Yes, that is Dakota's grandmother chilling with a lion on her living room rug. The moral of the story? However insane Dakota's life gets as a result of fame, there's always room for extra crazy.
Fifty Shades Darker hits theaters on February 10, 2017. We'll have more details on production and gossip from the set as the shoot kicks into gear next month.