Fifty Shades of Grey Film Rights Snagged by Universal and Focus

There has been much chatter this past week about who would get their hands on the much-desired film rights to Fifty Shades of Grey, the E.L. James-written sex-soaked mature-audiences-only trilogy that’s taken the lit scene by storm. Well, ladies and gentlemen (and sadists and masochists), we have a winner: Universal Pictures and Focus Features have come out on top of the scramble.

The amount paid for the film rights has not been disclosed but Deadline is reporting on some details of the deal, including that “the author and agent set approvals over things like script, director and lead cast, but they did not insist on a quick progress to production or even a guarantee that all three films would be made.” It seems like slow-and-steady is setting up to win the race in the long haul too.

Fifty Shades of Grey was first published in the spring of 2011 in Australia, and went on to sell more than 250,000 copies in eBook and Paperback editions. Earlier this month, Vintage Books acquired the world English publishing rights and will be producing a U.S. paperback edition in April.

So … why all the buzz? The titillating novel shares the story of late-20s billionaire Christian Grey’s relationship with college student Anastasia Steele, in which she’s contractually obligated to submit to his S&M desires. The prose can bring even the most un-prudish sort to full blush – and has become quite popular with females, as made evident on a recent “Good Morning America” segment.

The remaining question? Who will take on the roles of Anastasia and Christian? And, of course, will the film join the ranks of the elite NC-17 Ratings Club? If Christian’s Red Room of Pain is remaining part of the plot, we’re betting yes.

  • ashley a

    I hope they use Michael Fassbender for Christian!!!

    • vesperah

      I was always picturing Simon Baker of The Mentalist as Christian...

      • Ginger

        Simon Baker as Christian, definately! He's sexy, gentle and can pull of the "lost boy" part easy.

        Allison Williams as Ana. Pretty and wholesome.

        No Kristen or Rob! We've seen enough of them already. The popular choice seems to be Ian. He is too pretty and lacks that boyish charm.

      • lala

        I think Simon Baker is the perfect fit in terms of character and appearance. But his age, doesn't fit at all.

        • Stacy

          I would agree with you. Its not like I'm crazy about him, but I just started to watch old show the Guardian, and figured that the way he acts, his eyes, unruly hair, everything matches to the Fifty Shades hero. Everybody suggest these HOT guys, but no no no, you should consider other things. I mean, producers always create movies that way that they are completely different from the original book. But still. I really see Simon as Mt. Grey.

      • Elizabeth

        Simon Baker instantly came into mind while reading this book.

        • sue

          I agree ~ Simon Baker would be perfect as christian Grey

      • ME TOOO!!! I am so happy to see so many people feeling the same way about him playing Christian Grey. The Ian Somerhalder phenomenon is driving me crazy. I so not see Ian playing this role at all!

      • J

        Sinon Baker for sure - he's Christain to a t! He's got the hair, the eyes and the breathtaking smile

      • Christine E.

        Me too!!!!

      • Serena D.

        As soon as I started reading the book, the first actor that came to mind was Simon Baker....All the other actors are handsome for sure....but the way she describes Christian....Simon fits him to a T, except for his age....that would be an issue.

        • Jiselle

          I completely agree. I have always pictures Simon as Christian. He can plat the "Lost Boy" and the "Control Freak" he has the ability to give that "hooded" smoldering sexy look. Just watch an episode of The Mentalist. Or in The Devil Wears Prada. It is quite evident that he can portray Christian to a T. having trouble picturing him? Look at pictures of him from the Guardian....Panty

      • Lorraine

        Simon Baker would be perfect. He is older than 27 but does not look old -- plus he is very sexy and his eyes and hair are perfect.

        Ryan Gosling would never be my choice

      • Peggy

        I totally agree with Simon Baker as Christian, I don't think there could be anyone more perfect. For Anna, I think Rooney Mara would be a good fit!

      • Paige

        I always punctured Simon baker as Christian while reading the books too! I don't care f he's too old. He can make it work!

      • Maggie Goetze

        Absolutely Simon Baker!! His sexiness transcends age, he only gets better!

    • Dented

      William Levy!!!! He's perfect, he should play Christian!

      • Maria

        Wow I agree William Levy!

      • Lizzy

        Is he a good actor?

  • Jeremiah

    I must say that this has been something on my mind and I didn't know that all of this was happening. I came to read all three books when my girlfriend informed me of them. As a young man that has never cared for literature, I must say that these novels have turned me into a new direction! I cannot wait to hear the news that they have started production and will surely go to see this in theaters if it is available in the US!

  • Laura

    This better be NC-17, if it doesn't have the red room of pain, then it's not Fifty Shades of Grey.

    • Jessica


    • Jessica

      I think Chris Hemsworth would be the perfect Christian! He's gorgeous, in his late 20's & has that look!

      • Kit

        Christian is "beautiful" - Like classic beauty with a very dark and scary side. The actor must make that transition from a clean beautiful facade to a darkly sexy predator, a sleak and smoldering creature. I would love to see Matt Bomer give that a try.

    • Melissa

      I agree! No Red-Room-Of-Pain... and it's not the same movie. Keep it real Universal! It's an adult movie... it is NOT a teenie-bopper flick. It's about time women older than 25 can stop feeling terrible about boy-crushes on Jacob Black & Peeta Mellark and simply sit back and enjoy a man old enough to appreciate our womanly crush! (... and handle what comes with it!) Hello Mr. Grey... With that said, Ian Somerhalder & Alex Pettyfer can battle it out for the role. He's still only 28 after all...

  • vesperah

    Hoping for Simon Baker of The Mentalist as Christan, and anyone other that the Kristen Stewart as Ana (the simpering Bella Swan is not who I want to see in this film!).

    • Tressa

      While reading 50 shades, I always pictured Simon baker! He would be perfect! Kristen stewart for Ana!

      • Kit

        I would love to see Simon Baker get into a hot sex thing! Hey, he's a Mentalist! That's what they should be very good at?

      • Kit

        I don't see a Kristin Stewart in a role like this at all, from an appearance or acting standpoint. She got lucky to have an amazing, fantasy-like story line with the Twilight series. I don't think she has the chops to pull off Ana or the scenarios of 50 Shades

  • TrueBloodLuvr

    Love, love, love Michael Fassbender for the role of Christian Grey! He is a bit older than the Character but I think he would be perfect. His hair and eye color are spot on and he just burns up the screen! I always had him in my mind's eye as I read the books. I hope they get him!!!!

  • Erica

    Christian Bale as Christian; Blake Lively as Anastasia; Cate Blanchette as Helena...

    • Kit

      Ten years ago Christian Bale was totally the man for this role. I think he's too mature for the role now.

  • Mira

    Christian Bale and Emma Stone!
    Can't think if anyone else playing Chriatian Grey.

  • Speeler77

    Michael Fassbender Is also who I had in mind as Christian when reading the books & Emmy Rossum as Ana... I hope whoever they choose to play them do it justice & I really hope it's not Rob & Kristen...

  • Megan

    Henry Cavill should play Christian...he is about the right age and he has the face and the body! And he was in the Tudors so sex is no prob. he perfect! Dominating but sensitive.

    Felicity Jones should be Ana. She looks the part big eyes and full lips. She is a good actress and i think she could pull it off.

    • gina

      I couldn't agree more Henry Cavill is perfect for the part!!!!!!

  • when i read the novel, I have the face of Simon Baker as Christian. I think he is sexy and had the most strange and tender eyes... I also think in Ryan Gosling will be perfect for the role, had the sexappel. But if the movie need a fresh face, I consider Eric Winter, he had a great body, he is beautiful and had a sexy smile and lips, he can be hard and tender...

  • Sarah

    Matt Bomer and Emma Stone

  • Dalene

    Hands down Ian somerhalder should be Christian Grey!

    • Lizzy

      Hands down yes!

  • anne smith

    Colin Egglesfield - without a doubt!!!!!!

  • Brittany

    matt bomer or ian somerhalder should be christian!! emma stone should play ana and charlize theron should play elena! im so excited can't wait for it to come to life. and yes it better have an nc-17 rating

  • Gro

    William Levy

  • Abby

    Alexander Skarsgard should play Christian Grey!

  • Heather

    Colin Egglesfield! agreed...female should be a break out, unfamiliar, innocent, naive one...and agreed Charlize Theron should play Elana!

  • Susan

    Blake Livley with brown hair for Ana...and Chris Hemsworth or Ian Somerhalder for Christian!! And....Kate Bosworth for Katherine?

  • Connie

    Tom Welling from "Smallville " would make a fantastic Christan !

  • Kim

    Ian would make me happy. Otherwise, I know he's too old, but I think he could pull it off. Simon Baker- he is who I visualized through the entire series.

  • Edie C

    Henry Cavill IS Christian Grey! He has the looks,the eyes,the body, looks great in a suit (Dunhill ads) if his Dunhill Black ads don't scream Fifty I don't know what does. Its like the book was inspired by those ads with the plane helicopter girl & car. The man is sex on a legs. He can playseductive, domineering,playful & can pull off the acting. To show Christians traumatic desperate side. He has the whole package! As for Ana, I would like to see Alexandra Daddario who has those big blue eyes & can look innocent & then sexy as she groes into her sexuality. My other choice is Lucy Hale who already expressed her interest she has the same features & innocence just big green eyes.

  • LiLi

    Alexander Skarsgård is Christian Gray in every way, watch him in True Blood if you don't believe me. He plays the Dominat and also has a softer side. I can't picture anyone else for this roll

  • I think Bryce Larkin. He would be perfect .

  • Angela Reed

    I would like to see Chris Pine play the part of Christian Grey.

  • Lindsay

    Ryan Philleppe should play Christen! Felicity Jones should be Ana! Cant wait to see how this gets put together in the end!

  • Becky

    Reading the books, again, love them and my choices for the movie, Henry Cavill as Christian Grey and Alexandra Daddario as Anastasia Steele, just my humble opinion.

  • Jules

    I have pictures Simon Baker(Mentalist) all the way through the books. I hope they choose him 🙂

    • Michelle D.

      I have to agree 200% I pictured Simon Baker straight away one night when I turned on The Mentalist!....I was like Hey.....that is my Christian Grey that I am picturing.....yes, older but I think he has Charisma and is sexy.....mysterious

      • Gina

        Age doesn't matter, Simon would be the perfect Christian Grey <3

  • Julia

    Alexis bledel & matt bomer

  • Barbi

    I vote Simon Baker for Christian, definitely! I also envisioned his sexy face while reading the trilogy. Don't care about Ana, just get SB on the big screen for this role!

  • Lecia

    I totally agree.. He is exactly who I pictured through all three books. Haha. Gorgeous, debonair, he's wonderful.

  • mick

    SIMON BAKER (yes, I'm using shouty capitals!) all the way for me! He could definitely pull off the dark troubled side and the boyish fun side no problems at all. He was totally who I pictured when I was reading it!

    • Sarina

      I can so see Simon Baker playing the role of Christian Grey! I'm not fussed that he is older - make can do wonders! Simons has that the right eye colour, the just f.....ed hair and such a great soft romantic screen presence, not to mention he has a smile to die for! Shame I'm not the casting director!

  • Kristy

    I think Zac Efron should play Christian!

  • nivi

    omg the book was so overwhelming for some reason . the first few lines i read and pictured SIMON BAKER of THE MENTALIST and devil wears the prada .. untill i read christian has been alloted for dark frisk hairs . i tried alot to iron my imagintion with a matt daemon or michael fassbender but SIMON is the best .. even rob pattinson cant match simon's enigma... for the petty ana's part .. ANNE HATHAWAY seems the perfect submissive and pretty flushy for all the times. cant wait for such a fantasy turn into a movie.......

  • Lainey O’Bryan

    If they want this movie to be top of the line. The only choice is Simon Baker. The man can do easily pull of Christian. Jesus, is everyone blind. Just take one look at the man!