'Fifty Shades of Grey' Director Tackling Ted Kennedy Thriller 'Chappaquiddick' (Exclusive)

Stefanie Keenan/WireImage for The Museum Of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Sam Taylor-Johnson

The script was just named to the 2015 Blacklist.

Sam Taylor-Johnson, who directed Fifty Shades of Grey, is in talks to direct Apex Entertainment’s feature Chappaquiddick.

Mark Ciardi is producing the project, with its script just named to the 2015 Black List. Apex's Campbell McInnes and Chris Cowles of DMG Entertainment are also producing.

"I’ve done a lot of true life stories, many sports stories, but this one had a deep impact on this country," said Ciardi. "Everyone has an idea of what happened on Chappaquiddick, and this strings together the events in a compelling and emotional way. You’ll see what [Senator Ted Kennedy] had to go through."

Written by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan, Chappaquiddick is a political thriller that chronicles the true story of what is described as the seven most dramatic days of Kennedy's life.

On the eve of the moon landing, Senator Kennedy becomes entangled in a tragic car accident that results in the death of former Robert Kennedy campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne. The senator struggles to follow his own moral compass and simultaneously protect his family's legacy, all while simply trying to keep his own political ambitions alive.

Taylor-Johnson is best known for directing Fifty Shades, the adaptation of the best-selling book by E.L. James. The helmer beat out many filmmakers to nab the coveted gig, and the movie whipped up more than $570 million at the worldwide box office.

Apex developed the script with DMG and is fully financing the project through its newly launched Apex Capital film fund. Casting is underway with principlal photography set to begin in late spring.

UTA Independent Film Group is selling domestic rights. DMG's Chris Fenton is executive producing. Allen and Logan are also exec producing.

Taylor-Johnson, repped by UTA, Brillstein Entertainment and Sloane Offer, also directed 2009's Nowhere Boy.

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