'Fifty Shades Darker': What to Know About the Movie Sequel to EL James' Erotic Novel

Courtesy of 50 Shades Darker / Twitter

Stay up-to-date on all of the pertinent info about the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' follow-up.

Fifty Shades of Grey fans are eagerly awaiting the big-screen version of the next installment in EL James' erotic series. In Fifty Shades Darker, Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) is forced to deal with many of Christian's (Jamie Dornan) former flames, including Elena "Mrs. Robinson" Lincoln (Kim Basinger).

In April 2015, the second and third films received release dates, after which casting for both projects heated up and paparazzi photos chronicled the back-to-back filming of both movies.

Until audiences can see Mr. Grey again, The Hollywood Reporter has compiled this handy guide to all things Fifty Shades Darker. Check back for updates.

WHO

While author James, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti are all returning as producers, neither the director nor the screenwriter from the first film are back for the second installment after Fifty Shades of Grey helmer Sam Taylor-Johnson clashed with James about many aspects of the big-screen adaptation, including the ending. Instead, James' husband, author and screenwriter Niall Leonard, will adapt Darker for the big screen. Leonard, who did uncredited work on the Fifty Shades of Grey script, has written for British TV shows Air Force One Is Down and Wire in the Blood and is the author of the Crusher book series.

James Foley is set to direct both Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, the film adaptation of the third book in James' trilogy. Foley, who has helmed several episodes of Netflix's House of Cards, working with Brunetti, also directed the 1992 film version of Glengarry Glen Ross, Fear (the 1996 thriller starring Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon) and 2007's Perfect Stranger, starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis. Marcus Viscidi also is producing Darker.

Returning cast:
Dakota Johnson: plays Anastasia Steele
Jamie Dornan: plays billionaire Christian Grey
Eloise Mumford: plays Anastasia's friend Kate
Luke Grimes: plays Elliot Grey, Christian's brother
Rita Ora: plays Mia Grey, Christian's sister
Marcia Gay Harden: plays Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey, Christian's mom
Max Martini: plays Taylor, Christian's bodyguard
Victor Rasuk: plays Jose Rodriguez, Anastasia's college friend

New cast:
Kim Basinger: plays Elena Lincoln, Christian's business partner and older former lover, whom Anastasia has nicknamed "Mrs. Robinson," who introduced him to the world of S&M
Eric Johnson: plays Jack Hyde, Anastasia's boss
Bella Heathcote: plays Leila, one of Christian's former lovers
Robinne Lee: plays Ros Bailey
Fay Masterson: plays Gail Jones
Tyler Hoechlin: plays Boyce Fox
Hugh Dancy: plays Dr. John Flynn, a psychiatrist Christian begins seeing after the reappearance of Elena, his older former lover, who initiated him into the BDSM world

WHAT

The big-screen adaptation of the second novel in EL James' erotic book series is a follow-up to Fifty Shades of Grey. In Darker, Anastasia starts a new job as she's faced with dealing with many of Christian's former flames. Although the couple called it quits at the end of Grey, paparazzi photos that have surfaced of Dornan and Johnson filming the sequel suggest that the two could reconcile. Still, Universal chairman Donna Langley called the follow-up "more of a thriller" than the first film. Indeed, reports indicate that Anastasia is threatened by both Heathcote's Leila, one of Christian's exes, and Johnson's Jack Hyde. A teaser for the sequel, which was included on the Blu-ray version of Fifty Shades of Grey, featured Dornan's Christian donning a masquerade mask.

WHERE

Like Grey, Darker also is set in the Pacific Northwest, with filming taking place in Vancouver and Paris.

WHEN

Filming on Darker began in early 2016. Universal Pictures is set to release the pic Feb. 10, 2017, with Fifty Shades Freed slated to hit theaters Feb. 9, 2018. Darker and Freed are being filmed back-to-back.

WHY

With a production budget of $40 million, Fifty Shades of Grey made more than $571 million at the global box office, making it one of the most profitable films of 2015. While Universal and its specialty division Focus Features secured the film rights to James' best-selling trilogy in 2012, there wasn't much news on the sequel until more than two months after Grey hit theaters, with Leonard and Foley signing on and Universal dating Darker and Freed. Dornan and Johnson each signed a three-picture deal, but THR reported that they were seeking more money for the sequel.

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