E.L. James Screamed At Fifty Shades Of Grey's Director About The Sex Scenes

In the weeks leading up to its theatrical release, Fifty Shades of Grey has generated plenty of controversy, with conversation constantly flying around regarding how much sex and BDSM content is actually featured in the movie. Reports have said that as much as 20% of the film is characters making the beast with two backs, which is quite a lot by normal blockbuster standards - but apparently it may have just not been enough for Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James. Apparently she wasn't too big on the idea of graphic content from her story being removed for the big screen adaptation, and this opinion led to some serious on-set arguments with director Sam Taylor-Johnson.

The filmmaker recently sat down for an interview with Porter Magazine, and according to Vulture, an interesting part of the dialogue included Taylor-Johnson revealing that she had "multiple screaming matches" with E.L. James while trying to make the film version of Fifty Shades of Grey. Talking about her relationship with the author, the director told the interviewer,

We definitely fought, but they were creative fights, and we would resolve them... We would have proper on-set barneys [British slang for "arguments]... 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."

When the Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation was first starting to get into motion (circa January 2013), screenwriter Kelly Marcel promised that the script she was writing was aiming for an NC-17 rating - saying that they were "100 percent going there" - but obviously a great deal of change has occurred since then (most likely because getting an "NC-17" film a wide release is practically impossible, even for a major studio). A few weeks ago, the MPAA officially tagged the movie with an "R," citing things like strong sexual content, unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and we've read reports since saying that some of the book's most intense content - like a scene involving the aggressive removal of a tampon - have been cut for the feature film version.

Knowing that E.L. James wasn't too happy at times while on the set of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, it will be interesting to hear what she winds up thinking of the final product. After all, the concept of an author not being happy with a Hollywood adaptation is very far from new, and it's not impossible that James will feel that she doesn't recognize her story up on the big screen. That being said, it also sounds like most of Sam Taylor-Johnson's conflicts with the writer were creatively and peaceably resolved, so it's equally likely that James winds up loving the film. We'll just have to wait and find out.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.