E.L. James' Husband to Write Script for 50 Shades of Grey Sequel

Posted on April 23, 2015

The sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey, called Fifty Shades Darker, finally has a new screenwriter: E.L. James' husband, Niall Leonard. The film made $568.8 million worldwide, so the sequel should have been an easy project. Instead it's stalled out for months after director Sam Taylor-Johnson quit the franchise over her endless on-set disagreements with author E.L. James.

The screenwriter for the first film, Kelly Marcel, is also out of the project. So that left the film with no director and no writer. Then things got really awkward when E.L. James told the studio that she wants to write the screenplay herself. Reports indicate that this suggestion was not met with much positivity.

Now, three months later The Hollywood Reporter says that Niall Leonard will write the script. Leonard is a respected screenwriter and novelist, who has written for the British television shows and miniseries Wire in the Blood, Ballykissangel, Wild at Heart, Horatio Hornblower 3, Air Force One is Down, and many more. He is also a successful novelist. He is the author of the popular young adult Crusher series: Crusher, Incinerator and Shredder, which was just released in the U.S. by Random House.

Leonard reportedly did some polishing on the screenplay for Fifty Shades, although he did not receive formal credit for his work, and is ready to dive into the project. Producer Michael De Luca told THR, "Niall is an outstanding writer in his own right, with multiple established credits, and we are lucky to have him join Team Fifty."

We think the studio balked at having James (real name Erika Leonard) write the script alone and her husband was offered as a compromise, which they accepted. So, the question everyone has is this: will he really be doing all the writing? Or will his wife write it while he polishes? If the script is good, no one will care one way or another.

This of course leads to another question: who will direct the film? Stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are locked in to the project, they're not going anywhere regardless of what the script looks like. One thing's for sure: whoever takes up the directing reins will know what she is getting into, unless she's been living under a rock for the last year or so.

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