Laters, baby! “Fifty Shades of Grey” director Sam Taylor-Johnson has officially parted ways with the high-grossing franchise. Deadline confirmed the news Wednesday, explaining that the 48-year-old filmmaker has decided to not return to direct Universal's adaptation of author E.L. James’ second installment from her best-selling trilogy, "Fifty Shades Darker."
“Directing ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful,” Taylor-Johnson began in a statement. “I have Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota and Jamie. While I will not be returning to direct the sequels, I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three.”
With Taylor-Johnson out of the picture, Universal will have to hire a new director to bring “Fifty Shades Darker” to life. But whoever the network decides to bring on will have some pretty big shoes to fill! According to the Hollywood Reporter, the erotic flick opened to $85 million in North America in February and has only gained financial speed since, now estimating in at $558.60 million worldwide.
So why did the film’s original director decide to end her seemingly fruitful relationship with the “Fifty Shades” franchise? We have a few theories. According to speculation, Taylor-Johnson was forced to hang up her whips and chains due to creative differences with James. Entertainment Weekly reported Taylor-Johnson had a different plan for the salacious storyline of “Fifty Shades.” Instead of featuring sex scene after sex scene the director was more interested in highlighting the love story between Anastasia Steele (Johnson) and Christian Grey (Dornan).
“On the early draft, there was a sense there was way too much sex,” she revealed to Variety in January, just weeks before the first film premiered. “The story, of course, is of equal importance. We tried to balance the narrative correctly, so one doesn’t feel like it’s drowning the other.”
One of the major moments from the book that Taylor-Johnson cut from the movie was the much-talked about tampon scene where Christian removes the feminine hygiene product from Ana so that they can have intercourse. “It was never even discussed,” the former “Fifty Shades” director confirmed.
"Fifty Shades Darker" has not yet been given a premiere date.