When it comes to who has the last say on the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, it seems like author E.L. James refuses to back down. Much like how Jamie Dornan’s Christian Grey is the dominant force in his BDSM relationship with Dakota Johnson’s Anastasia Steele, James reportedly has so much control over the direction of the film adaptation and she wields it frequently. This proved to be a detriment to director Sam Taylor-Johnson, as the two fought over how the final scene of the film should play out. Guess who came out on top?
Yup, James. The writer of the Twilight fan-fiction turned best-selling BDSM erotic series was reportedly given immense say in the making of the Fifty Shades of Grey film, according to sources close to The Hollywood Reporter. And among the many issues on which she fought with Johnson was adapting the final scene.
Beware of spoilers from both the film and the book ahead…
In the novel, the final scene shows Anastasia asking her lover to unleash his inner sex demon on her…in other words, give her the sexual beating he wants to dish out. He does, which horrifies her and she ends up leaving him. (Side bar, this is probably one of the many scenes with which the online campaign #50dollarsnot50shades has taken major issue.) According to multiple THR sources, Johnson and her team wanted to end the film with Anastasia saying, "red," which is the couple’s safe word. The idea was to make it artsy and intrigue people enough to maintain interest for a sequel. However, James wanted none of that, and the final word will now be "stop."
According to one insider close to the project, the tiff over this small detail was "petty and ridiculous" and was ultimately the result of all the tension that built up between James and Johnson. The director has said before in interviews that it was very difficult working with the author, given all of her creative influence and persistence. On one hand, fans fell in the love with the book for a reason, and James’ ideas should be considered. However, writing a book and making a film are two different things. As she told Porter magazine (via US Weekly) of their working relationship:
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.
Aside from this seemingly minute detail, producer Michael De Luca told Variety that the final scene in the film as the most intense. He praised Dornan’s ability to get lost in the role and he said the actor "gets carried away in the moment." Moviegoers have already been reserving their tickets ahead of time for the big debut on Valentine’s Day, so hopefully fans of the book will think the film an acceptable adaptation. However, we can’t help but wonder how much of the on-going conflict between James and Johnson will be reflected in the film.