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Before Universal and Focus anoint an actress to slip into the role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey, the studio will tap a writer for Hollywood’s most coveted adaptation in years.
Universal and producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti are now a step closer to filling that assignment after meeting to explore a quartet of writers: Karen Croner, Dan Fogelman, Veena Sud and Kelly Marcel.
Although Fogelman is the most seasoned of the group, with such credits as Bolt and Cars 2, he frequently works in the family-friendly arena — a far cry from the S&M themes depicted in E.L. James’ best-seller.
Toronto-born Sud has forged darker subject matters, having developed AMC’s The Killing, based on the Danish series The Crime. Paramount also tapped Sud to write a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion.
Croner is in business with Universal/Focus on another adaptation: the Tina Fey–Paul Rudd starrer Admission, which is based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s 2009 novel. She also adapted Anna Quindlen’s novel One True Thing, which starred Meryl Streep and Renee Zellweger.
Marcel, a British writer and actress best known for her work on the Fox TV series Terra Nova, wrote the Tom Hanks–Emma Thompson starrer Saving Mr. Banks, which goes into production next month.
Universal and Focus nabbed rights to the mega-selling Fifty Shades trilogy for $5 million in March after a heated Hollywood bidding war but have taken their time in setting a writer. The books, about a torrid love affair between a college student and a twentysomething billionaire, have sold about 40 million e-book and print copies worldwide to date.
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