E.L. James is an author who is happy to talk about the process of writing. We know, for example that her Fifty Shades books started as Twilight fan fiction and that her new book The Mister started coming together even before Fifty Shades of Grey. Recently, the author also revealed that her work on the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is what caused the Fifty Shades of Grey as told by Christian to come together.
So, how did this come about? Apparently, E.L. James’ stress on the set of Fifty Shades of Grey led to her writing the chapter from Christian's point of view that would go into Fifty Shades Freed. That led to a more extensive writing project, and the rest is history. Per the author,
In the back of the book of Fifty Shades Freed, when that came out, I actually put the first chapter of Fifty Shades of Grey in Christian’s point of view, just as a sort of bonus for readers, and people started asking me, ‘Oh, can you write this, can you write this, can you write this?’ And I didn’t have time and I didn’t expect to do it, but I had such a miserable time making the Fifty Shades of Grey movie that when I finished that I sat down and wrote that novel, and it was a really cathartic experience for me. I didn’t realize it would be quite as popular as it was.
The fact that director Sam Taylor-Johnson and E.L. James did not have the best relationship has been known for a while. Taylor-Johnson previously talked about how she and the author were not on the same wavelength, noting,
I like everyone, and I get really confused when they don't like me. I was so confused by EL James. I don't understand when I can't navigate a person, when there's no synergy.
I wish I could have been a fly on the wall on that set to see how the two interacted, however.
Ultimately, what E.L. James feels was kind of a rough situation turned out pretty happily. In general, fans seem to love the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, although Sam Taylor-Johnson did not return to the franchise.
In addition, Fifty Shades of Grey as told by Christian was given 1.25 million printings just for its initial run and the book sold over a million copies during its first week of release.
As has been common with the story of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, critics have been less nice about the series, but fans have totally devoured it.