Sam Taylor-Johnson Still Can't Believe How Hard It Was to Work with E.L. James on Fifty Shades

Sam Taylor-Johnson with husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Photo via Getty Images.
Sam Taylor-Johnson with husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Photo via Getty Images.

At this point, it’s been years since the making of Fifty Shades of Grey, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. And she is still talking about how impossible she found author E.L. James.

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The director recently sat down with the Sunday Times of London and, naturally, the conversation eventually turned to her famously tumultuous go at the franchise. “It was a struggle and there were lots of onset tête-à-têtes, with me trying to bat it into the [right] place,” she admitted of trying to film things like the climactic punishment scene. Hovering over it all was E.L. herself:

Most problematic was the unusual control that the author, EL James, had negotiated over the movie. Director and author clashed. “I like everyone — and I get really confused when they don’t like me. I was so confused by EL James. I don’t understand when I can’t navigate a person, when there’s no synergy.”

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Taylor-Johnson apparently wouldn’t touch the franchise again with a ten-foot pole:

Having once said she could talk anyone into anything, it seemed she had met her match. She did not take on the sequels. Did she see the second one? “I’m not going to ever watch them. I have literally zero interest,” she says. Does she regret doing the movie? “I can never say I regret it because that would just finish me off.” I try another tack: given her time again, would she take it on? “With the benefit of hindsight would I go through it again? Of course I wouldn’t. I’d be mad.”

What do you reckon E.L. James is even gonna do with her time after the third movie is made?

Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

thenoblerenard
The Noble Renard

There’s no one more intense about how a particular universe is supposed to play out than fanfiction authors, slash fiction in particular, and EL James is the most successful slash fiction author of all time, so....

I am not the slightest bit surprised.

EDIT: YES OKAY I MESSED UP RE SLASH FICTION IT’S BEEN A WHILE SINCE I WAS A TEENAGER HANGING WITH THE DRAMA CLUB AND ALL MY FRIENDS’ HARRY/RON/DRACO SLASH FIC WAS POSTED ON LIVEJOURNAL.