One would think that a burgeoning screenwriter, whose script became a global pop-culture phenomenon, reaping $569 million at the box office, might have given the end product at least one look. Yet, for Fifty Shades of Grey scribe, Kelly Marcel, whose experience with the film was notably tumultuous, she can’t even bring herself to watch the movie over what she calls a broken heart.
Making an appearance on the podcast of American Psycho author, Brett Easton Ellis, Marcel candidly discusses the highly publicized creative conflicts over Fifty Shades of Grey that led to her departure from the upcoming sequel. Revealing why she still refuses to even view the film, Marcel states:
My heart really was broken by that process, I really mean it. I don't see it out of any kind of bitterness or anger or anything like that. I just don't feel like I can watch it without feeling some pain about how different it is to what I initially wrote.
For Marcel, the process was especially disheartening because she essentially walked into the project bestowed by the studio powers-that-be with the illusion of creative freedom. Unfortunately, throughout the process, this privilege was chipped away gradually until the work barely resembled what she wrote. Marcel even reveals that she delivered her fully-realized original script to the studio and producers, who claimed to love what she had done… until, for some mysterious reason, they didn’t any longer. Not pulling any punches, Marcel calls the process, "utter, utter, bullshit."
Continuing to open up about the incrementally irritating process, Marcel also discusses the creative clashes she experienced with Fifty Shades author, E.L. James. Apparently, Marcel’s original approach the adaptation crafted the story in a more artistic, non-linear form. Rather than a notoriously slow, uninteresting build-up to the film’s heavily touted sexual pseudo-torture scenes, Marcel’s script apparently jumps right into the BDSM meat and potatoes from the very beginning. Likewise, the backstory explaining how this relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey first came about was told through sporadic flashbacks. Marcel’s version also did not contain any of Ana’s inner monologue, which she felt distracted from the dangerously sexual tone and mitigated the charcter's transformation into what she calls her "inner goddess."
While Marcel’s version certainly sounds like a piece rife with intrigue, we all know how the story behind this creative struggle ended. E.L. James got the film she apparently wanted, much to the creative chagrin of departing personnel like Marcel and the equally unfulfilled director Sam Taylor-Johnson. The result was a hugely lucrative, but widely-panned film showcasing a linear-unfolding, awkwardly paced narrative that gets lost in the mundane minutiae. As if that wasn’t enough, it failed to live up to the supposed scandalous nature of its highly promoted prurience, something that could present problems for the brand regarding its two potential sequels.
For now, despite struggles behind the scenes and reportedly contentious negotiations with stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, the sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, is still moving forward. Possibly mitigating the creative clashes with E.L. James, the studio went so far as to bring her screenwriter husband, Niall Leonard, on board to pen a script that is said to shift genres. At the moment, said sequel is targeting a February 2017 release.