Production problems on Fifty Shades of Grey between director Sam Taylor-Johnson and author E.L. James are well-known. While the director was excited to announce that there was going to be sequel with the returning lead stars, Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, many speculated that the ongoing disagreements would have an effect on her return.
Now we are getting confirmation that the first sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, will need a new director as Taylor-Johnson has revealed that she will not be returning for to the franchise.
In a recent interview with Deadline, Taylor-Johnson spoke about exiting the sequel:
“Directing Fifty Shades Of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful. I have Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota and Jamie. While I will not be returning to direct the sequels, I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three.”
No word yet on who Universal is considering as a possible replacement, and it is likely that whomever signs on will probably have to direct the final two films – or four since splitting the final book into two parts is the norm.
As previously mentioned, the spilt comes after on-set feuds between Taylor-Johnson and James became public. The two fought over the creative vision of the film, as well as casting, and often had to find resolutions to said disagreements. While Universe is now searching for a new director, James wants to write the screenplay for the final two films – essentially replacing Fifty Shades of Grey writer Kelly Marcel – as well as have more creative control on the final two films.
Dornan and Johnson are both expected to return. Universal has not scheduled a release date for Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.