No one likes to give up the last word, and apparently “Fifty Shades of Grey” author E.L. James is no different. It appears that she fought extremely hard with director Sam Taylor-Johnson on the very last word of the highly anticipated big screen adaptation of her book and won. As writers know, this is a very unusual event in Hollywood as many are quickly cast aside the minute they sign over the rights to their books.
Rarely does a studio give the author of a book they’re adapting to the big screen much control, but as the Hollywood Reporter reported today, “Fifty Shades of Grey” author E.L. James had so much control, she was able to overrule director Sam Taylor-Johnson on the ending of the film.
Well, not everyone is Erika Leonard, the real name of E.L. James. After purchasing the rights to her overwhelmingly popular book in a frenzied auction back in March 2012, Universal gave much more control to the author than is normal. As we know, when everyone clamors for something in Hollywood, studios make rash decisions they come to regret later. James has made sure the studio hasn’t forgotten their promises to her and has freely exercised them all.
The heated battle between James and Taylor-Johnson is over the very last word in the film which, as readers of the book know, is rather important. She wrote the script with Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks) and felt that her versions of “Fifty Shades of Grey” was perfect all the way to the very last word. The director had Patrick Marber (Notes on a Scandal) do a rewrite changing the very last word to a color familiar with readers of the book. We’re keeping this article spoiler free so people who’ve not read the book won’t be given the ending of the film.
This wasn’t the first fraught dealing that director had with James, but it appears to have been the biggest and most traumatic for her.
“It was difficult, I’m not going to lie. We definitely fought, but they were creative fights, and we would resolve them. We would have proper on-set ‘barneys,’ and I’m not confrontational, but it was about finding a way between the two of us, satisfying her vision of what she’d written as well as my need to visualize this person on-screen, but, you know, we got there.”
As anyone who has made a movie knows, tensions rise over the smallest things, and studios rarely give any control to screenwriters or authors who are to close to the source material to be as objective as a director. Audiences will most likely not notice the difference, but readers will and more than likely voice their opinion on which word ending was the best.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” hits theaters on Feb. 12.