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50 Shades of Awkward by Christy Blevins


50 shades of awkward

Christy Blevins

Calling all booklovers, this one’s for you. Maybe. The movie adaption of the adult bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey written by E.L. James, is in its pre-production stage of filmmaking. Talk of this movie and novel has gone viral throughout the internet and television shows for the past year, and on Saturday, September 2, the author announced via Twitter the casting for the two main characters. Sons on Anarchy‘s Charlie Hunnam has been cast to play the S&M loving Christian Grey, while Dakota Johnson, known for her TV series Ben and Kate, has been cast to play the virginal college student Anastasia Steele.

Just like any screen adaptation of a novel, the fans backlashed at this news and have been throwing insults throughout the web. The fans continue to argue about casting; however, the cast is set in stone. The real problem that the fans of the erotica series should be questioning is how many of the 70 million copies of books sold will translate into purchased tickets for the already NC-17 rated movie? Filming Fifty Shades and keeping it interesting and attractive to the audience will require director Sam Taylor-Johnson to walk a very fine line.

Screenwriter Kelly Marcel defends her new project saying in an interview with Style Magazine, “Regardless of what you may think of [James’] writing, this is a modern love story, involving two complex characters, and that’s what I’m interested in.”

What exactly is the story of Fifty Shades the novel about?  Fifty Shades of Grey is narrated by an, at the time, innocent college student, Anastasia Steele, who begins a relationship with a 27 year old powerful businessman, Christian Grey. Their relationship develops in such a way that Christian acts as a teacher to Ana. Ana loses her virginity to Christian, and he basically asks her to sign a non-disclosure agreement and a contract that keeps their relationship purely sexual. She agrees, and then their relationship builds as a “dominance and submission.” The novel plays on tensions over the nature of their relationship and the possibility of a romance, as well as Ana’s sexual explorations.

In the past a NC-17 rating has dramatically influenced the box office. Besides the rating, the obvious threat to the movie is how much sex will be in the film. In the interview with Style, Marcel stated “…There is going to be a lot of sex in the film…It’s going to be raunchy. We are 100 per cent going there…”

Fifty Shades will have an uphill battle to work on screen, because it’s building on foundations that are shaky at best, and has to make it to an August 21, 2014 premiere date. However, there is reason to believe Fifty Shades, the movie, will be better than the book itself. Awkward scenes in the novel will undoubtedly be viewed on screen with humor and comedy. The dry narration and personality of the young Ana may be lost and give the audience a better main character on film.

This adaptation may prove to be full of unintentional comedy thrown in between NC-17 rated sex scenes, yet despite the predictable fan tantrum regarding the recent casting announcement, Fifty Shades may actually develop into a film with a plot and not a cheap thrill.