50 Shades of Trivia...

Fifty Shades of Grey: Dakota Johnson as Anastasia "Ana" Steele
Fifty Shades of Grey: Dakota Johnson as Anastasia "Ana" Steele

It’s the movie everyone’s talking about, but the road from page to screen has been far from smooth for E.L. James’ bestselling bonkbuster. Susan Griffin probes a little deeper...

1 50 Shades Of Grey began online as a raunchy fan-fiction version of Twilight.

2 Back then, author E.L. James went by the name of ‘Snowqueens Icedragon’, and the story was called Master Of The Universe.

3 James tweaked the story taking out the vampire component, so Edward Cullen became dominant billionaire Christian Grey and Bella Swan transformed into submissive Anastasia Steele.

4 The 50 Shades Of Grey trilogy was originally published as e-books and print-on-demand by a virtual publisher, before it was picked up and re-released spring 2012.

5 To date, around 100 million copies of the trilogy (there’s also 50 Shades Of Darker and 50 Shades Freed) have been sold in 52 languages.

6 The publishers have reportedly boasted that at the height of the book’s popularity, two copies of 50 Shades were being sold every second.

7 The popularity of the erotic books within a certain age group inspired the term ‘mummy porn’.

8 The subject matter meant, all of a sudden, it seemed normal to discuss BDSM (bondage, domination and sado-masochism) around the water cooler.

9 Its ambiguous beginnings led to a lawsuit when movie rights were sold, amid claims the material was part of the public domain and therefore copyright registrations were invalid. The matter was settled out of court.

10 A studio bidding war to obtain the film rights began in 2012.

11 Mark Wahlberg’s production company was one of the first to show interest, but they were “blown out” of bidding when it became too expensive. James decided to go with Universal Pictures and Focus Features.

12 As part of the terms, the writer is said to have made it clear she wanted to retain an element of creative control, and is credited as one of the movie’s co-producers.

13 Her fellow producers are Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti, who produced Captain Phillips and The Social Network.

14 American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis wanted to adapt the book.

15 However, Kelly Marcel, who wrote the screenplay for Saving Mr Banks, was hand-picked to rework it for the screen.

16 Angelina Jolie is said to have been interested in directing the movie.

17 According to sources, Joe Wright, who helmed Pride & Prejudice, was considered, but in the end, British film-maker Sam Taylor-Johnson was chosen for the job.

18 Taylor-Johnson made her directorial debut with 2009’s Nowhere Boy, about John Lennon starring her now husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

19 The director admitted there have been numerous creative differences between her and James during production.

20 She and the author are said to have fought over the end of the movie.

21 The budget for the film is estimated to be around 40m dollars.

22 James’ first-choice for Christian Grey was Mr Twilight himself, Robert Pattinson.

23 Model David Gandy said he was approached, but isn’t interested in acting.

24 Charlie Hunnam was cast as Christian Grey in September 2013, but ‘scheduling conflicts’ meant he had to pull out.

25 Taylor-Johnson has since admitted to Empire magazine that she was aware of Hunnams’s anxiety, particularly with regards to filming a potential further two movies.

26 Jamie Dornan, who caused a stir as The Fall’s resident serial killer Paul Spector, replaced Hunnam in October 2013.

27 Dornan is 32-year-old former Calvin Klein model, who dated Keira Knightley for two years and is now married (to actress Amelia Warner) and a father-of-one.

28 The actor has been reported saying: “I am never going to please all 100 million people who read the book. I’ll be lucky if half that are happy.”

29 The role of Anastasia went to 25-year-old Dakota Johnson, the daughter of actors Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson.

30 Other actresses who are said to have been in the running include Imogen Poots, Elizabeth Olsen and Alicia Vikander.

31 Audition material for Anastasia included a four-page monologue from Persona by Ingmar Bergman.

32 Although the books are based in Seattle, filming actually took place in Vancouver, Canada, which doubles as the city.

33 However, while the film might not have been shot in Seattle, that hasn’t stopped tours popping up in the American city, showcasing hotspots.

34 The sex scenes in the book are famously explicit and the movie has been given an 18 certificate.

35 Don’t expect too much filth: “I didn’t want it to be graphically explicit, and I know that’s going to be disappoint ing for some people,” says Taylor-Johnson.

36 As part of his research, Dornan visited a sex dungeon, later saying: “It was an interesting evening. Then to go back to my wife and newborn baby. I had a long shower before touching either of them.”

37 Dornan won’t be completely naked on screen (it was in his contract). He told GQ: “It’s all tucked away in a little flesh-coloured bag... you tie it up like a little bag of grapes.”

38 The director decided to treat sex scenes like action sequences: “I felt it was really important that each sex scene had a different character.”

39 Taylor-Johnson also directed the music video for Earned It, by The Weeknd, which features on the film’s soundtrack.

40 The rumour-mill is on overdrive that Dakota Johnson and Dornan don’t actually get on that well at all.

41 Lookout for Jennifer Ehle (of the 90s Pride & Prejudice adaptation), as Anastasia’s mother Carla.

42 Singer Rita Ora makes her acting debut as Christian Grey’s younger sister Mia.

43 Though production ended in February 2014, Dornan and Johnson were called back to re-shoot scenes in October.

44 Some campaigners argue it glamorises abusive relationships.

45 Beyonce’s Crazy In Love has been remixed for the movie.

46 When the trailer launched online in 2014, it received 100 million views in its first week.

47 In 2012 Time magazine listed James as one of the ‘100 Most Influential People In The World’.

48 The author has an estimated net worth of around 60million US dollars, and that’s set to soar.

49 By February 5, 2.75m cinema tickets have been pre-sold worldwide, 475,000 in the UK alone.

50 The cast have signed up to do all three movies.