Nearly two years to the day since E.L. James’ first Fifty Shades of Grey novel hit — and nearly melted — bookshelves, Universal and Focus Features have announced that Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct its highly anticipated big screen adaptation.
Last summer, Angelina Jolie was rumored to be in talks to get behind the camera to tell the graphic story of college grad Anastasia Steele and kinky businessman Christian Grey, while more recently, names like Joe Wright (Anna Karenina) and Gus Van Sant were bandied about for the job. Instead, producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti chose Taylor-Johnson, a 46-year old British filmmaker.
1. She’s directed one movie before: 2009’s Nowhere Boy, about a young John Lennon.
She’s also directed three shorts.
2. The movie starred Aaron Johnson… to whom she is now married.
She is 23 years his senior, and they have two young children. They exchanged names, too; he’s now known as Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Here’s what she said in 2010:
“We were both aware that something was happening while we were working but too terrified to let it happen while we were at work. A woman going out with a younger man feels like the last taboo. We’re happy and we’re in love, and our life is working out well. We’re not hurting anyone. What’s the issue? Other than curiosity, I suppose. Or jealousy. Britain can sometimes feel like a very small village, and you’re this, I dunno, scarlet woman they’re all gossiping about.”
3. So will Aaron play Christian Grey? We asked Brunetti; he referred us to this tweet:
Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s representative confirmed that he would not be involved in the film.
5. Before she went into film, Taylor-Johnson was a photographer.
In 1993, she reproduced this famous Lennon-Yoko photo.
Her work has been featured in museums around the world (mostly under the name Sam Taylor-Wood), from the Guggenheim to Centre National de la Photographie in Paris and White Cube in London to the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
6. One of her best known works is the “Crying Men” photo series.
Made in 2002, it features famous men in tears.
7. She’s also shot a series of incredible, gravity-defying self portraits.
8. She’s a two-time cancer survivor.
In 1997, she fought off colon cancer. Three years later, she beat breast cancer.
9. She was raised for a time in a commune.
Her childhood was rocky in general: her father left when she was nine, while her mother split when Taylor-Johnson was 15.
Via The Guardian:
“Her mother remarried, to another yoga teacher, and moved to the depths of Sussex - a dank, dark ‘Hammer House of Horror in the woods in the middle of nowhere’. They were part of a yoga commune and wore orange robes, took Sanskrit names and went on retreats to see swamis - ‘I used to hate it. Which is quite strange, because now of course I think I’d quite like those retreats, the silence and the meditation and the yoga and the health food, but as a child it was torture.’”