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Despite less than stellar reviews, Fifty Shades of Grey still managed to make more than $500 million at the worldwide box office last year. Hell, it’s even nominated for an Academy Award (sure, it’s Best Original Song, not Best Picture or one of the big awards, but it’s still a damn Oscar nomination). Given that amount of money, and the massive global popularity of the books, sequels were inevitable, and though it took longer to come together than the studio may have liked, Fifty Shades Darker is rolling along. And the production just added a new big name to the cast in the form of Kim Basinger.

While stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are back in the lead roles of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, respectively, Variety reports that Universal has now added Kim Basinger as the first significant new cast member to join the BDSM party. According to the trade’s sources, she will play a former lover of the titular Grey, the young, successful businessman with a dark, sexy secret at the center of the narrative.

The 62-year-old Kim Basinger will take the role of Elena Lincoln. She is both a business partner of Christian Grey as well as a former lover. Given both of those roles in his life, you can bet that the two have an interesting relationship, and that there will be some simmering sexual tension and mind games going on. She was hinted at in the first film, so her arrival on the scene is rather likely to have quite an impact on the sequel.


In addition to Basinger, Dakota Johnson, and Jamie Dornan, Luke Grimes, Eloise Mumford, and Max Martini are reportedly returning for Fifty Shades Darker in their supporting roles of Elliot Grey, Kate, and Taylor.

After the first movie, there were all kinds of rumors of discord on set. There was reportedly a ton of friction between Johnson and Dornan, and director Sam Taylor-Johnson butted heads with author E.L. James, who maintained an unusual amount of control for a writer whose work was being adapted.

The search for a new director was part of why it has taken Fifty Shades Darker longer than expected to get moving, but now James Foley has been tapped to sit in the big chair. Additionally, Niall Leonard, who just so happens to be E.L. James’ husband, is the one adapting the second novel in the erotic trilogy.

Once the full cast and crew are in place, Universal plans to shoot Fifty Shades Darker, and the final chapter in the saga, Fifty Shades Freed, back-to-back.

Fifty Shades Darker hits theaters next year, on February 10, 2017, while Fifty Shades Freed drops February 9, 2018. Do you think Kim Basinger is the right choice for the role of Elena Lincoln? Can you picture her as the character? (She’ll always be Vicki Vale to me.)