Director Sam Taylor-Johnson Leaves ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Franchise

Sam Taylor-Johnson did an amazing job as director of Fifty Shades of Grey; unfortunately, she won’t continue working on the franchise sequels, Fifty Shades Darker or Fifty Shades Freed, she confirmed yesterday (March 25, 2015).

“Directing Fifty Shades Of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful,” Taylor-Johnson said to Deadline.com.

“I have Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota [Johnson] and Jamie [Dornan]. While I will not be returning to direct the sequels, I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three.”

Rumor has it Taylor-Johnson and Fifty Shades author E.L. James did not get along during production of the first movie and argued about the direction of the film. She told Porter magazine about their tensions,

“It was difficult, I’m not going to lie. We definitely fought, but they were creative fights, and we would resolve them. We would have proper on-set ‘barneys’, and I’m not confrontational, but it was about finding a way between the two of us, satisfying her vision of what she’d written as well as my need to visualize this person on screen, but, you know, we got there.”

Furthermore, Taylor-Johnson had told Huffington PostLive back in February, that James hadn’t even congratulated her on the media frenzy or expressed her excitement. She commented, “I think we will get to the end of this – we’ve been moving at such a pace – [that] hopefully when we get to the end of this, that will happen.”

Additionally, screenwriter Kelly Marcel will not be returning to adapt the sequel. Thus, Universal will be on the hunt for not only a director, but a writer as well. Variety reported that perhaps James herself is very interested in adapting it.

The first installment has already grossed more than half a billion dollars at the worldwide box office ($163 million to date, and $558 million worldwide). It’s also Universal studio’s eighth-highest-grossing film worldwide. Surely there’s great expectations for whomever will be taking over for the second and third installments.

It’s incredibly disappointing that Taylor-Johnson won’t be returning for Fifty Shades Darker or Freed given the fact that her vision for putting the book on the big screen was not only witty and entertaining in its ways, but pro-feminist (way more so than in the book).

Under Taylor-Johnson’s direction, Johnson’s portrayal of Anastasia Steele’s female prowess isn’t compromised or undermined, in light of billionaire Christian Grey’s masochistic, BDSM (male-privileged) wiles.

Regardless, it looks like she has the support of both Dornan and Johnson, as she posted these pics to her Instagram yesterday and today.

Today with Jamie. #jamiedornan

A photo posted by Director FSOG (@samtaylorjohnson) on