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'Fifty Shades of Grey' Movie Secures Director

Sam Taylor-Johnson - P 2013
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Sam Taylor-Johnson will helm the adaptation of the steamy novel by EL James.

Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct Fifty Shades of Grey, the adaptation of the best-selling novel by EL James.

Taylor-Johnson directed Nowhere Boy, a 2009 drama about John Lennon's childhood in Liverpool. She is developing a film for Columbia based on the novel A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick.

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James revealed the news via Twitter on Wednesday, followed by an announcement from Universal Pictures co-chairman Donna Langley and Focus Features CEO James Schamus.

“Sam’s unique ability to gracefully showcase complex relationships dealing with love, emotion and sexual chemistry make her the ideal director to bring Christian and Anastasia’s relationship to life,” said producer Michael De Luca in a statement. “E L James’ characters and vivid storytelling require a director who is willing to take risks and push the envelope where needed, and Sam is a natural fit.”

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The hire ends one of the more high-profile director searches in recent memory. The three steamy Fifty Shades novels have sold more than 70 million copies in ebook and print. Universal and Focus Features snapped up movie rights for a whopping $5 million and brought in writer Kelly Marcel to fashion a script for the first movie. DeLuca and Dana Brunetti are producing. 

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“I am excited to be charged with the evolution of Fifty Shades of Grey from page to screen,” said Taylor-Johnson in a statement. “For the legions of fans, I want to say that I will honor the power of Erika’s book and the characters of Christian and Anastasia. They are under my skin too.”

more to come