It was a mixed week for Fifty Shades of Grey movie news. On one hand, thanks to Entertainment Weekly’s photo shoot, we got to see what stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson look like together. And then these photos were followed by the news that the film’s release date had been moved to February 2015, about half a year later than the originally set August 2014 release date. On the bright, we’re starting to hear details about the film’s production, as the December 2 start date approaches. That includes Dornan’s auction process, and the film’s likely R rating.
EW has the feature adaptation of EL James’ steamy novel front and center in their issue this week, putting stars Dornan and Johnson on the cover, and giving us our first look at what Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele look like together. Today, the site shared some comments from Dornan, including the audition process, which for him, began with a tape submitted for the first round of casting. He didn’t get to do the face-to-face audition until after Charlie Hunnam dropped out of the role. EW says Dornan was flown to Los Angeles to do an intense day-long try-out with Dakota Johnson. The two scenes they worked on was the initial interview Ana does with Christian when she first meets him in his Seattle office — in the book, Ana’s still in college at that point and interviewing Christian Grey on behalf of her friend Kate, who was covering Grey for the campus paper — and the "climactic scene near the end of the book."
EW doesn’t specify what was involved in that scene, but Dornan told the site "There’s quite a lot going on in both scenes," and that "The interview scene is sort of a condensed version of the journey that the two of them go on. There are so many layers in it. It’s a beast."
The interview scene would certainly give the producers and director (Sam Taylor-Johnson) an idea of how these two actors are together face to face when they’re just talking. The book puts us into Ana’s head, so we know what she’s thinking, but Christian’s much harder to read. How they’ll be able to convey all of this on screen remains to be seen. And I’m going to guess that the "climactic scene" near the end is a bedroom scene, as it stands to reason that they’d want to see how Dornan and Johnson worked together in some of the more sexually charged and emotional moments in the story.
Meanwhile, Collider spoke with producer Dana Brunetti about the film, confirming the December 2 start date and the likelihood of an R rating. Given the explicit nature of the story, an R rating seems like a given, but from what Brunetti says, he’d like it if they could also release an NC-17 version as well, released separately after the R-rated one hit theaters:
"It’ll be R, obviously it has to be R. This is just my opinion and this doesn’t mean this is going to happen, but I always thought it would be really cool if we released the R version and then we had an NC-17 version that we released a few weeks later. So everybody could go and enjoy the R version, and then if they really wanted to see it again and get a little bit more gritty with it then have that NC-17 version out there as well. It’d be great for the studio too because they’d get a double dip on the box office… What we’re kind of hearing from the fans is they want it dirty, they want it as close as possible [to the book]. We want to keep it elevated but also give the fans what they want."
He makes it pretty clear that this is sort of a wish list idea for him, and not necessarily something they can make happen, but it would be interesting to see how that would shake out at the box office (and whether it would inspire other films to take a similar approach). In the meantime, Brunetti seems confident that the film they’re making will aim for tastefulness. Or at the very least, that the film won't be the "mommy porn" some people have already branded it.
"We’ve been able to attract fantastic team as far as our department heads, everyone that’s gotten involved have very good resumes. Which I think is shocking to a lot of people who label it ‘mommy porn’ or say ‘it’s gonna be trash,’ I think the team that we’re assembling should be already deafening that."
You can hear the rest of what Brunetti had to tell Collider in the video below: