It seems that the “Fifty Shades of Grey” sequel has finally found its director. After the previous director decided to leave the book-turned-movie franchise after just one movie, Universal reportedly has tapped James Foley to helm “Fifty Shades Darker.”
The news comes from a report by Deadline that states, while negotiations have not yet begun between the studio and the “Glengarry Glen Ross” director, he’s the clear front-runner to pick up where “Fifty Shades of Grey” director Sam Taylor-Johnson left off. The outlet cites his recent work on high-profile, and high-concept, shows like “House of Cards,” “Hannibal” and “Wayward Pines” as qualifications for the director's chair. Universal Pictures reportedly is hoping to bring Foley on to direct at least the sequel, and possibly the third installment, “Fifty Shades Freed.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Taylor-Johnson left the project soon after the premiere of "Fifty Shades of Grey" in February. “While I will not be returning to direct the sequels, I wish nothing but success to whoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three,” Taylor-Johnson said in a statement. The outlet reports that creative clashes with the author of the “Fifty Shades” novels, E.L. James, resulted in the director's decision to depart the series. Apparently, James had a lot of control over the movie’s direction, which proved irksome to the “Nowhere Boy” director. Vulture reports that the two had screaming matches on the set.
With Foley now in the running to take over the franchise, the question is, how far would he have to go in if he accepts the job? The report from Deadline notes that the studio, despite greenlighting two sequels, is still wondering if it should film them simultaneously. If Universal decides to do that, it ll need to lock Foley in for both movies.
However, despite being a hit at the box office, the first movie received mixed reviews. As CinemaBlend notes, the studio likely can’t count on the same push of curiosity from fans that surrounded the first movie to propel the sequel to financial success. It’s possible Universal will nix filming both movies at the same time in favor of taking the public’s temperature following “Fifty Shades Darker" when it hits theaters around Valentine's Day, 2017.