The holy grail of “mommy porn”, 50 Shades of Grey finally found a director for its film adaptation. The good news is, it will be directed by a woman. Sam Taylor-Johnson is a British director whose most notable film was Nowhere Boy. Naming a woman director for a film based on a female zeitgeist shaping film is a classy, intelligent and savvy move. The content of this movie can easily become lurid and offensive in the wrong hands. As someone who has read the books (don’t judge me!), I think it’s important to have someone at the helm that can strike a balance between offering the sizzle and the steak.
Now for the bad news. Nobody’s going to see this in a movie theater! OK, maybe not NOBODY, very few people will go see this in a public theater. Wanna know why? First, part of the reason the books were so very successful is that millions of readers had a high level of anonymity. E-readers, audio book and apps (like audible & iBook) allowed people to get their read on virtually anywhere without having to acknowledge it publicly.
Second, picture yourself on a movie night excursion or even better, a Saturday matinee date with your loved one. You go to your local theater, buy tickets and popcorn, you head to the theater and just as you go to walk into the door flashing the 50 Shades of Grey sign you see… Now fill in that space with the most humiliating person you can think of. Your dad, reverend, kid’s preschool teacher, co-worker, boss, elderly neighbor, all of these people would leave you feeling red faced and scrambling to hide in the bathroom until the lobby clears out. Seeing this movie in the theater will be one big public declaration that you like and or want to get your freak on. While some of us will be down with the public stand (I did acknowledge that I read and enjoyed the books) many others will not be ok with it.
I always thought that 50 Shades of Grey should have been an HBO limited series. We all know that HBO isn’t afraid of nudity, soft porn or kink (for example: Rome, True Blood, Game of Thrones, Taxicab Confessions, Real Sex… need I go on?) They would have completely broken Nielsen’s ratings apparatus with the volume of people that would tune in and DVR it.
Ultimately, I’m sure 50 Shades of Grey will do well. I loyal cult following will hit the theaters, It’ll do gangbusters overseas, where folks aren’t as conservative about sex as us stuffy Americans, and all the true scaredy cats will wait and pre-order the DVD on Amazon. So good luck to you Mrs. Taylor-Johnson. I’ll be very curious to see how this all pans out.
Your turn! How do you feel about this newest development? What about my public versus private theory? Let me know.