Fifty Shades of Grey may not hit theaters for another year, but the people behind the movie are trying to make it easier on the poor souls who can’t stand waiting. On Friday, the movie’s Facebook page posted a still from the movie with the caption, “See you in a year! Happy Valentine’s Day! #FiftyShades.” In the photo, Dakota Johnson (who plays Anastasia Steele) stands before Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan) with a shocked look on her face and a folder in her hand. Only (yes, only) one more year until we can see this same image on the big screen.
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Jamie Dornan was in his pajamas, and anxious. It was 1:30 a.m. London time, and the 31-year old actor was watching reruns of Storage Wars and praying for the phone to ring. “I was sort of pretending I wasn’t waiting, but the phone was in my hand, halfway to my ear,” Dornan says in throaty Irish brogue. He had just flown back from Los Angeles, where he had auditioned for the role of the world’s hottest control freak, Christian Grey, in Fifty Shades of Grey. Landing this part would propel him to instant stardom, and so, with his pregnant wife, actress Amelia Warner, snoozing upstairs, Dornan tried to focus on the show. Minutes later, the film’s director, Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy), phoned to tell the former Calvin Klein model that he was about to become the object of millions of women’s fantasies. “There was a slight fear,” Dornan says now, his wiry frame huddled on a couch in a Los Angeles photo studio. “But beyond anything else, I was really f—ing excited.”
This weeks’s Entertainment Weekly cover story features the first exclusive interviews with the two stars of the new film based on Fifty Shades of Grey, the publishing phenomenon from British author E L James — about the seduction of virginal college student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) by a beautiful billionaire with a penchant for sadomasochism (Dornan) — that has sold 90 million copies worldwide and ignited the libidos of a generation of women.
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We spent so much time thinking about the actors we wanted to play Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation that we never stopped to think about what would actually go into the audition process. Which scene would the actors have to read? Perhaps the first time Christian and Ana meet? Or maybe the final scene of the book (you know the one)?
And although the details are still unknown, Carrie Diaries star Chloe Bridges recently told Cosmopolitan a little something about the script she was given to read in the audition room.
“There were three pages of sides that I was going to audition with,” Bridges said. “I read them and then was like, ‘I really can’t do this.'”
So of the two options we proposed, it certainly sounds like the scene was closer in nature to the latter. “If you read these three pages of asides, you would die,” said Bridges, who plays the saucy Donna LaDonna on Diaries and has had her fair share of racy scenes — just not this racy. “I still like to show them to my friends for fun,” Bridges said.
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Some longtime Entertainment Weekly readers may be familiar with my 66-year-old mother, Joyce Bierly. A retired school teacher who saw Magic Mike four times in the theater, she’s popped up from time to time over the years, from awards show live blogs to the pages of EW when I was doing a Stupid Questions interview with Michael Bolton and we phoned her to ask how many buttons he should undo on his shirt for maximum hotness. (See photographic proof below.) Typing that, I now realize it comes as no surprise that she’s read Fifty Shades of Grey. I actually bought us both copies of the book a couple of years ago to read on vacation. I paged through it the first night while she finished up her latest Sherryl Woods novel or something and immediately called the book club off — but she read it anyway. And the two books that followed. In 10 days.
Because I work at Entertainment Weekly, she would occasionally ask me if I knew anything about the casting rumors she was reading about. I didn’t. When Charlie Hunnam’s name came up recently, I told her why that one might actually pan out: He’s done nude scenes before. He can play an extreme badass that you still like, as seen on Sons of Anarchy. The blockbuster Pacific Rim didn’t make him a household name as expected, but this film definitely will. Even though women do watch SOA, Fifty Shades of Grey will introduce him to a lot more of them. And he’s been kicking around long enough that I don’t think anyone in the industry would fault him for gunning for name recognition at this point — whether or not the film gets a better letter grade than Twilight.
So how does my mother — who’s really your mother — feel about the film now that the leads are officially cast? I phoned her. Here are her thoughts:
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Since it was revealed over the weekend that Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson landed the lead roles in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, passionate fans have been in a fury, directing rage-filled tweets at author E L James and film producer Dana Brunetti and starting a petition lobbying for White Collar star Matt Bomer and Mad Men‘s Alexis Bledel to replace the duo as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.
Brunetti tried reasoning with the angry mob, retweeting hateful messages and explaining how the casting process really works.
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