‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ to be directed by ‘Nowhere Boy’s’ Sam Taylor-Johnson

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson is ready to get kinky with Universal’s anticipated adaptation of the first book in E.L. James’ bestselling erotic book series “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

The studio secured the rights to the book trilogy for a reported $5 million in early 2012, and are planning to get the first film into theaters by the summer of 2014. Finding a director for the material has proved somewhat of a challenge, however, with several names being bandied about. At one point, Angelina Jolie was reportedly being  considered to direct, with more recent buzz suggesting that “Anna Karenina” helmer Joe Wright was in the running for the gig.

The studio has settled on Taylor-Johnson (previously credited as Sam Taylor-Wood), who made her directorial debut with 2009″s little-seen “Nowhere Boy,” which starred her future husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Kick-Ass”) as a young John Lennon. 

Originally developed as “Twilight” fan fiction, “Fifty” centers on a 27-year-old billionaire named Christian Grey and his S&M relationship with a young college student named Anastasia Steele. Its sequels, “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed” further explore their darkly sexual relationship.

James, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti will produce “Fifty Shades,” but no casting news has been revealed as of yet. Although he may not portray Christian, it’s entirely possible that rising star Aaron Taylor-Johnson — who will soon be seen in “Kick-Ass 2” and the reboot of “Godzilla” — will appear in the film. 

Sam Taylor-Johnson is currently an adaptation of the Robert Goorlick novel “A Reliable Wife,” which is also being produced by De Luca.

“Sam”s unique ability to gracefully showcase complex relationships dealing with love, emotion and sexual chemistry make her the ideal director to bring Christian and Anastasia”s relationship to life,” said De Luca in a statement.  “E L James” characters and vivid storytelling require a director who is willing to take risks and push the envelope where needed and Sam is a natural fit.” 

“I am excited to be charged with the evolution of Fifty Shades of Grey from page to screen,” said Taylor-Johnson. “For the legions of fans, I want to say that I will honor the power of Erika”s book and the characters of Christian and Anastasia. They are under my skin too.”

“Fifty Shades” fans — do you think Sam Taylor-Johnson is a good choice? Who do you want to see star in the film?