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Given the amount of drama that reportedly went on behind the scenes of the first Fifty Shades of Grey - leading director Sam Taylor Johnson to leave the franchise - it's not a huge surprise that it's taken a minute for Universal Pictures to find a filmmaker to make the sequel, Fifty Shades Darker. The project has been without a director for five months, but now it looks like the studio may have found their man: James Foley.
Variety is reporting that the Glengarry Glen Ross and House of Cards director is now being considered the front-runner to direct the upcoming follow-up. At this time, an offer has not yet been sent to the director, but sources say that the studio is expected to reach out to him very soon.
Should James Foley decide to take on the Fifty Shades Darker gig, he will be working from a script by Niall Leonard, the writer and husband of Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James. He will pick up the story of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), who were seen breaking up in the final moments of the last movie - after Anastasia's discovery of the true pain that Christian wishes to inflict on her. Obviously the book of the same name, which was published in 2012, will play a heavy influence on the film.
James Foley began his career in the features game, helming the aforementioned Glengarry Glen Ross in addition to the 1996 thriller Fear among others, but more recently his career has been focused on the small screen. He hasn't helmed a movie since the 2007 thriller Perfect Stranger, starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis. He has found a lot of work recently as part of the team making Netflix's political drama House of Cards, having directed 11 of the 39 episodes that have been made.
Even if it takes a few weeks for Universal to formalize a deal with James Foley, there is still plenty of time to develop the sequel under his eye. Because the studio didn't schedule a release date until February 14, 2017, Fifty Shades Darker doesn't actually have to start rolling cameras until the first quarter of next year. Once the director is in place, the production will move on to the casting phase and find actors to play the new roles introduced in the story.
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