Universal Pictures has yet to make an official announcement regarding the release date for “Fifty Shades Darker,” but that hasn’t stopped “Fifty Shades of Grey” producer Dana Brunetti from speaking out about the upcoming sequel. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter Thursday, Brunetti dished on director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s possible return, the cast’s rumored salary demands, previous set feuds and more.
In response to speculation that Taylor-Johnson will not return to direct the second installment to author E.L. James’ romance series "Fifty Shades Darker," Brunetti shared that he is unsure what will come to the potential future blockbuster. He also admitted that there was no word on an official screenwriter – despite rumors James is vying for the position. “We literally have no idea what we’re going to do. I have not even met with the studio or anybody yet about the second film,” he shared.
While Brunetti has yet to meet with Universal, James appears to already have a leg up on the filmmaker. On Wednesday, James posted an image of a hallway at Comcast and NBC Universal to Instagram. Her mysterious post’s only caption was a smiley face.
When asked by the Hollywood Reporter about the rumors regarding a former feud between the director and James on set, Brunetti claimed that the feud allegations were blown out of proportion. “People are always going to disagree, but ultimately if you don’t agree, then the movie doesn’t get complete and released and its ends up being absolutely horrible,” he said.
According to the producer – who is also well known for his work on Netflix’s “House of Cards” -- the disagreements on the “Fifty Shades” sets were no different from any other film. “There's been so many other movies where there were battles on set that were real battles, where people were walking off set or trying to stop production or hijacking editing rooms,” he said. “This got blown out of proportion because anything with ‘Fifty Shades’ in the headline got attention.”
And while all may be good and well between Taylor-Johnson and the series’ creator, Brunetti may have a battle with the film’s stars, Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) and Dakota Johnson (Ana Steele), on the horizon. Despite "Fifty Shades" raking in over $500 million at the worldwide box office, Brunetti said he is not eager to give his stars buzzworthy raises. “I'm not going to cry for anybody who wants to be in this business just because a thing they were involved in did very well and they didn't get paid [a lot],” Brunetti said when asked how he felt about Dornan and Johnson reportedly seeking seven figure paychecks for "Darker."
Taylor-Johnson announced that “Fifty Shades Darker” would be adapted for the big screen at a “Fifty Shades of Grey” fan screening in February. At the time, the film was rumored to be premiering in March 2016, but according to a recent IMDB update the sequel won’t make it way into theaters until 2017.
The third and final installment in James’ series, “Fifty Shades Freed,” is speculated to be hitting theaters in 2018. At this time, Brunetti said it’s unclear if the third film will be split into two feature length movies.