Director Sam Taylor-Johnson skyrocketed to fame after her film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey became the second-highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman. But even though the film did so well, Taylor-Johnson didn’t return for the second Fifty Shades film.
She opened up about her Fifty Shades directorial experience in an intimate interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Taylor-Johnson revealed that she had creative differences with Fifty Shades author E.L. James (real name Erika Mitchell) over how the film should look.
“Two different creative visions,” Taylor-Johnson explained to the Reporter. “Her vision versus mine, and they were polar opposite.”
“Every scene was fought over,” Taylor-Johnson continued. “It was tough. It was like wading uphill through sticky tar. Her thing was, ‘This is what the fans expect.’ I’d be like, ‘Well, let’s try and hit those marks but create a new universe at the same time.’ “
Even after production was finished, and Fifty Shades was breaking records at the box-office, the road to Taylor-Johnson’s Hollywood career was far from straight and paved.
“There weren’t any flat-out [job] offers straight away,” she said. “It was ego-denting, which may not have been a bad thing. At the same time, I was like, ‘Oh, I still have to keep fighting for stuff.’ I just thought it was going to come a lot easier.”
Universal had mentioned that Taylor-Johnson would be brought back for the second and third Fifty Shades films, but wanted to see how the first film went before drawing up any contracts. Universal ultimately decided to bring in James Foley to direct Fifty Shades Darker.
After experiencing such a trying time in her career, Taylor-Johnson waited a full year before looking at another script. Thankfully, she reclaimed her seat in the director’s chair for a Netflix project called Gypsy, about a therapist who gets overly involved in her patients’ lives.
Taylor-Johnson may have gone through a troublesome time while shooting Fifty Shades, but in many ways it taught her valuable lessons about herself and her career. She’s currently writing a screenplay with husband, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and would someday love to direct a James Bond film.
A female-directed James Bond? That is a film we’d want to see!