It had been rumored for some time, and now the news is official: Sam Taylor-Johnson won't be back to direct the "Fifty Shades of Grey" sequels.
In a statement to Deadline, Taylor-Johnson said that she was grateful for the opportunity to direct the flick, and wished filmmakers well on the two upcoming sequels, "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed." The director also gave a shout-out to leads Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, with whom she said she forged a close bond.
The statement, in full:
While those words are kind and measured, rumors about Taylor-Johnson's intense dislike for author E.L. James, on whose book series the film was based, have run rampant for months. The director herself said as much in interviews during the "Fifty Shades" promotional tour, revealing that she and James would often fight on set about the content of the flick, particularly James's desire to leave the book's graphic sex scenes intact, while Taylor-Johnson wanted to tone down some of the more salacious aspects to appeal to a wider (and more refined) audience.
Directing 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful. 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.
It seems that those differences became irreconcilable, though, and it makes sense that Taylor-Johnson would bolt. James is reportedly angling for even more control over the making of the sequels, and we can't imagine Taylor-Johnson would want to go through a similar shoot again with even less freedom.
No word from studio Universal yet on Taylor-Johnson's departure, or who might take her place in the director's chair. Stay tuned.
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