Despite his apparently sincere interest in the project, Bret Easton Ellis has been cut out of the running for the writers gig on 50 Shades of Grey, the big screen version of some lightly rewritten Twilight fan fiction. He tweeted:
It's a very major disappointment to announce that I've somehow been taken off the list of possible screenwriters for Fifty Shades of Grey…
— Bret Easton Ellis (@BretEastonEllis) August 7, 2012
A slightly more cynical part of me wonders if Ellis is simply working the crowd with his ongoing stream of Grey comments, the better to promote his upcoming movie, The Canyons. That one is being directed by Paul Schrader and stars Lindsay Lohan and James Deen, but seems to revolve around at least partially overlapping subject matter: young people, screwing.
As to who remains on Universal's short list of possible Grey screenwriters, The Hollywood Reporter have four names. Four odd and unexpected names.
Three of them are women, like Grey's 'creator', EL James. These are:
- Kelly Marcel, the creator of Terra Nova and writer of Saving Mr. Banks, Disney's upcoming picture about the making of Mary Poppins
- Veena Sud, a chief writer on the American do-over of The Killing who is also penning a remake of Hitchcock's Suspicion
- Karen Croner, whose adaptations of the novels Admission and One True Thing are coming down the pipe right now
And then, perhaps even more surprisingly, there's Dan Fogelman, a favourite of mine with credits on Tangled and Bolt, and the writer of the superbly scripted Crazy Stupid Love. I have no doubt that he can write, and write well, but would he be allowed to give this thing the overhaul it needs?
I guess there's just no modern-day equivalent of Joe Eszterhas.
Once they have a writer, Universal can get to finding 50 Shades a director… and then a cast, which is where the real fun and games will begin. I can smell the "shortlist" stories brewing at the trade papers already.