Though Gus Van Sant apparently wanted it really badly and Joe Wright's name was thrown around, the coveted job of directing the 50 Shades of Grey movie adaptation has gone to Sam Taylor-Johnson, Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr reports. For a relatively unknown English director like Taylor-Johnson, it's a coup, and for the rest of us, it's heartening to know that a studio believes in a female director to carry a movie based on a book with a massive female fan base. But... who? She's really quite cool. Trust us.
Taylor-Johnson only has one feature film to her name: Nowhere Boy, a 2009 biopic about the young lide of John Lennon. Before then, she was best known as a photographer and a video artist. A 2009 profile of her in The Guardian by Simon Hattenstone explained how "her work was fixated on decay, madness and death." Hattenstone points to "Hysteria," which features a woman laughing, and "Breach," which features a woman crying. Taylor-Johnson's book Crying Men features famous actors crying.
For a very commercial movie like 50 Shades, Taylor-Johnson is a very un-commercial choice, despite her roster of celebrity friends. In that same Guardian profile she told Hattenstone about how she walked out of meetings in Los Angeles. "It was when someone said, 'We're interested in making dramadies,'" she said. "I said, 'What the fuck's a dramady?' 'It's a drama comedy.' The combination of the two words made me think: I'm in the wrong place. It's all motivated by box-office returns, and I'll never be able to make the kind of film I want to make next."