Universal Pictures and Focus Features announced today that they've acquired the rights to E.L. James' erotic eBook Fifty Shades of Grey and its two subsequent sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. Fifty Shades of Grey was originally conceived as Twilight fan fiction before James realized she had something arguably more substantial on her hands. Bella Swan became the moxier and sexier 21-year-old college student Anastasia Steele, ensconced in a dominant/submissive relationship with the wealthy Christian Grey, who once began his fictional life as Edward Cullen.
The series became a cult favorite in the digital publishing world before the rights were recently published by Random House, who is releasing 750,000 paperback copies of the book next month. Amusingly, that article quotes Publishing Perspectives' Edward Nawotka as saying that Fifty Shades will be a "short-lived phenomenon" because "Honestly, you can't exactly turn this into a mainstream movie, which helped Twilight, for example."
Universal and Focus clearly feel otherwise, intending to film all three novels in the sex-drenched trilogy. Will this go NC-17 or the softer R? What actors can be considered the erotic equivalents to Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson? Megan Fox and Alexander Skarsgård?