Didn't they almost have it all? For a movie that's made more than $400-million worldwide, and is based on a property with two additional sequels, Fifty Shades of Grey is getting whipped. While so many think pieces have been written about whether or not Anastassia (played by Dakota Johnson) has any control over her own sexuality—according to various reports—two real-world human women have exerted enough control over the text and star, that the director, and co-star (Jamie Dornan), might be jumping ship.
The author of the books, E.L. James, was not entirely happy with the movie—even though she was involved in casting, choosing a director, and editing, all things that are very rare for an author—and is demanding to be allowed to write the scripts for the sequels. James and director Sam Taylor-Johnson fought over every detail, including what the last word of the movie should be (Taylor-Johnson wanted "red," the safety word, and James insisted on "stop").
Taylor-Johnson told Vanity Fair the following in January:
"I kept trying to remind myself that they hired me for a reason. Some people said to me, 'I'm surprised you haven't quit.' I was like, 'Why would you think I'd quit?' I never quit anything. Not without a fight." She admits, of James, "We battled all the way through. She'd say the same. There were tough times and revelatory times. There were sparring contests. It was definitely not an easy process, but that doesn't mean to say that it didn't come out the right way."
The director has even said the experience was so disheartening that she's not sure she'd ever want to make a movie again. She came to the film world via photography—there aren't E.L. James types looking over your every move when you're the photographer. Sounds like a safe place.
Not such a safe place right now, apparently, is Dornan's household. His wife, Amelia Warner (pictured above), is more than a little turned off by raving lunatic fans who've anointed Dornan their new Sex God.
"He tried to assure [his wife] Amelia nothing would change but women all over the world now lust after Jamie. She hasn't seen the film and I don't think she will to be honest." A"close friend" in Warner's native Australia, told an Australian publication, NW.
Fun fact: before Warner and Dornan wed, Warner starred in Quills, a film about Marquis De Sade—you know, the guy who wrote the level of BDSM that got him locked up in numerous asylums and prisons in 1700's France. She has not acted in a feature film for seven years.
Dornan is still actively acting, and reportedly also has taken some reviews of his lack of chemistry with Dakota Johnson to heart. According to the same NW profile, he is on the defensive, blaming Johnson (despite her being the only person who received anything approaching a rave from critics).
"Jamie does not think his performance was bad – instead he blames Dakota and says it wasn't possible to have chemistry with her. He says Dakota gave him nothing to work with."
Dornan and Johnson are pretty solidly locked into contracts, so it would actually be very difficult to just leave the franchise. But if the behind the scenes gossip is as poisonous as advertised, it might be impossible to make another movie anyhow. Just look at this behind the scenes interview exchange with Today that was recorded while they were filming last summer:
Natalie Morales: What is it like shooting together. I mean, is there that instant chemistry?
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson: [Shake heads no.]
Natalie Morales: No. You hate each other.
Jamie Dornan [Nods head yes.]
Dakota Johnson: [Studies ceiling.]
Natalie Morales: He's hard to work with?
Dakota Johnson: [Loud exhale.] [pause] It's [pause] wonderful.
Whether or not there is a sequel at this point seems to hinge on contracts. Could the 73% drop in sales after opening weekend be reason for concern? Is there an audience beyond the initially curious that generate bookoo bucks? Will Universal exert full control and force everyone to get into that sex dungeon and not come out until they've finished? It doesn't have to be love-making. Just (hard) fucking—the kind Christian Grey prefers.
But it doesn't sound like Dornan is game:
"[To go] back to my wife and newborn baby afterwards … I had a long shower before touching either of them." Jamie Dornan, to Elle UK
If Dornan refuses, will Universal find another six-pack that will?
Update: Dornan's rep told Gossip Cop that talk of Dornan bailing on Fifty Shades of Grey is “pure conjecture as the studio has not committed to a sequel as yet.”