UPDATE: Sam Taylor-Johnson has announced that she won’t be directing the two planned sequels of Fifty Shades Of Grey.
In a statement made to Deadline, the artist-turned-director said: '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.'
She added: ‘I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota and Jamie.’
News of Taylor-Johnson’s departure from the franchise probably won’t come as a surprise to fans after the 43-year-old spoke candidly in an interview with Vanity Fair last year about the film making process alongside the novel’s author E.L. James calling it, ‘not an easy process.’
She said: ‘We battled all the way through. She'd say the same. There were tough times and revelatory times. There were sparring contests.’
In her statement, Taylor-Johnson - who is married to Kick Ass star Aaron Taylor-Johnson - also wished her successor, ‘nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three.’
Whilst there’s been no word on who is set to take on the mantle next, the second instalment Fifty Shades Darker, will reportedly hit cinemas in 2017.
On 17 February 2015, we wrote...
Fifty Shades of Grey has been an unequivocal box office smash, taking a whapping £13.5 million across the UK and Ireland in its opening weekend (that’s a per screen average of 23k!).
But staggering success aside, speculation about the far-from-perfect relationship between the books’ writer, EL James, and the film’s director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, just wont go away.
Basically, the two women disagree on most things Fifty-Shades-related, which must prove tedious for all involved - Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan especially (maybe we can blame the clashing creatives for snuffing the actors’ on-and-off-screen chemistry).
In fact, James and Taylor Johnson’s relationship has become so toxic that the latest rumours suggest the sequels will be made by another director. Having previously confirmed she was committed to the Fifty Shades follow-ups it now seems Taylor-Johnson wants out, and apparently Universal and Focus Films (who are financing the franchise) aren’t going to challenge her.
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson's contracts are much more binding, however, so neither star has the option to back out now, even if they were inclined to.