After what has often felt like the most excruciatingly slow build-up to a hyped film beginning production, Fifty Shades Darker has finally got its ass into gear by casting one of its key new roles, that of Elena Lincoln.
LA Confidential actress Kim Basinger has officially been cast in the role of Elena, ending a long trail of unlikely speculation about younger actors like Charlize Theron stepping into the role (it was never gonna happen, guys).
Introduced in the novel as the former lover and current business partner of Christian Grey, Elena becomes a problem for Ana when Ms Steele discovers that the older woman seduced a young Christian many moons ago. As the book goes on, Elena jealousy over the man she mentored in all things sexual playing the mentor to somebody younger becomes a stumbling block in Grey's relationship with Ana.
It's a pretty juicy role, and not one you might have imagined Basinger would play, even if only because the Hollywood legend has flown under the radar for so long now. Her last big movie was Eminem's 8 Mile way back in 2002.
Still, considering her most iconic role remains that of Lynn in LA Confidential, a femme fatale type with a striking resemblance to Veronica Lake, it's not exactly difficult to imagine Basinger purring with the requisite seduction demanded by Elena.
Basinger joins a supporting cast that includes Rita Ora as Christian's sister Mia, Marcia Gay Harden as his adoptive mother Grace, and Max Martini as his bodyguard Jason Taylor.
The Vampire Diaries' Ian Somerhalder has been repeatedly touted as being in the frame for the role of Jack Hyde, a childhood friend of Christian's who came to resent him was Christian was adopted by the wealthy Grey family.
Now arch-enemies, Hyde hires Ana to work at his publishing firm, but thinks soon take a darker turn when he finds he shares Christian's taste in women. With shooting due to start mid-February, we'll know soon enough whether or not Somerhalder won the part.
Kim Basinger may be entering something of a career resurgence. Before Fifty Shades Darker she'll be seen playing Amy Adams' mother in Nocturnal Animals, a thriller also starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Darker will shoot back-to-back with Fifty Shades Freed, with the latter to follow a year later. Fifty Shades Darker hits theaters on February 10, 2017.
Do you think Kim Basinger is an inspired pick for the role of Elena, and would Somerhalder capture the menace of Jack Hyde?