Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale almost found herself in the Red Room of pain with Jamie Dornan. She recently opened up in a Cosmopolitan interview about auditioning for the role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey, and although we know she didn't get the part (Dakota Johnson will play Ana), it's good to know things were as awkward as we'd assumed:
"It's exactly what you thought it would be: a big monologue but very, very sexual ... there were some things that I was so embarrassed to be reading out loud, but it's one of those things where you have to commit wholeheartedly or you're going to make a fool of yourself."
Although Hale didn't specify, we're fairly sure this was one of the parts she had to read:
“He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string … and gently takes my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet. Holy fu–. … And then he’s inside me… ah!”
Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston
YouTube/Fifty Shades of Grey, Focus Features
Anastasia Steele may be a timeless literary hero. She may be a beacon of female agency in the realm of modern sexuality. She may be a vessel for the release of personal frustrations for readers the world over. She may be any and all of these things. But a good interviewer she is not. At least that's what we've gleaned from the first trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey:
We're not claiming to have all the answers behind a seamless interview, but we do know a few basic rules. Rules that Dakota Johnson, as the spiritually lukewarm Miss Steele, so callously breaks in this first look at the film. Steele pays a visit to the nauseatingly sleek office building of one Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) in order to conduct "an interview for the newspaper," as she so facelessly introduces. What's to follow is an onslaught of cardinal sins and groan-worthy slip-ups on the part of the would-be reporter.
Always look your subject in the eye.Nerves are understandable, but keep your nose out of your notebook. Steele's face barely reaches sea level.
Keep the discussion going.Any conversation is bound to hit a few lulls, but Steele allows for a pause so diabolically long and piercing that it's sure to kill any momentum in what otherwise might be an engaging back-and-forth.
YouTube/Fifty Shades of Grey, Focus Features
Don't make yourself the focus.While it's not a crime to inject a personal reflection here or there in the interest of forging an empathy and connection with your subject, Steele allows the chat to switch gears entirely and begins lamenting her own meaningless life. If you do insist on talking about yourself, keep it upbeat!
You probably shouldn't go and have sex with the person you interviewed.Although this one has its detractors.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
Actor Charlie Hunnam was left "heartbroken" after he was forced to quit the Fifty Shades Of Grey movie. The Sons of Anarchy star won the coveted role of Christian Grey last summer (13), but he exited the project months later, and now admits the decision was a difficult one.
He tells Life & Style magazine, "I felt like I had an interesting take on that character and felt like I could have done a good job of playing Christian Grey, otherwise I wouldn't have taken it on in the first place.
"When you put the time into something like that and a character comes alive in your mind, it's heartbreaking not to be able to play him... It was definitely kind of heartbreaking having to say goodbye to that character and not bring it to life."
Following Hunnam's departure, Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan was cast opposite Dakota Johnson, who will play Anastasia Steele in the movie, which is due out next year (15).
Fifty Shades Of Grey director Sam Taylor-Wood has added her husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson to the cast of the highly-anticipated movie adaptation of E.L. James' erotic bestseller. Rumours surfaced last year (13) suggesting the Kick-Ass star was being considered for the lead role of Christian Grey, but the part initially went to Charlie Hunnam.
When he quit the project, Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan was chosen as his replacement, but Taylor-Wood has now revealed Johnson has made it into the film.
However, she has not elaborated on his role.
The movie, which also stars Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele, is due to hit theatres next year (15).
The casting news comes just weeks after Taylor-Johnson told Nylon magazine he had no interest in playing Grey.
He stated, "I think it would have been the wrong kind of hype to bring toward us (as a couple). It would have been kind of funny that this character that all these women fancy - he's one in a million - and my wife picks her husband to play the part?"
He added, "I would love to have done something together again, but it wouldn't have been Fifty. We were both on the same page."
The pair met on the set of 2009 movie Nowhere Boy, in which Taylor-Johnson portrayed a young John Lennon.
Although the general public hasn't seen it, a trailer for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie recently screened to a bunch of fancy film people at Las Vegas Comic Con. And some of those fancy film folks were kind enough to take to Twitter and share their reactions. Unfortunately, many of those reactions tell us that the film looks like a really sweet, really adorable love story focused more on romance than the red room sexcapades many of us were hoping for. Seeing as how all of the other promo photos that have been released look insanely tame, we shouldn't be surprised. But if the trailer and promotional images are true reflections of what we can expect from the film, what might this say about American film and a desire to strongly regulate and censor images related to sexuality and sexual expression? This isn't just a question of filmmakers and producers "leaving out the good stuff" (although that is a huge issue here), it's one about whether or not Hollywood and America have a very big problem with female sexuality.
A few years back, similar discussions arose over the NC-17 rating given to Derek Cianfrance's brilliant film Blue Valentine. The stars of the complicated and intense love story spoke out against the MPAA (who later reversed their ruling and gave the film an R-rating), and what Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams had to say four years ago is still very much relevant today.
Gosling: You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It's misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman's sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.
Williams: Mainstream films often depict sex and violence in a manner that is disturbing and very far from reality. Yet, the MPAA regularly awards these films with a more audience friendly rating, enabling our culture's desensitization to violence, rape, torture and brutality. Our film does not depict any of these attributes. It's simply a candid look at the difficulties couples face in sustaining their relationships over time. Blue Valentine opens a door for couples to have a dialogue about the everyday realities of many relationships. This film was made in the spirit of love, honesty and intimacy. I hope that the MPAA will hear our pleas and reconsider their decision.
Gosling and Williams both highlight an issue we've seen unfolding over the years in cinema and media. As an American culture, we find far more controversy and danger in images concerned with sexual experiences than in images depicting violent acts. You could argue that we are more afraid of exposing young people to sex and sexuality than we are of exposing them to murder and death. But the fact that the MPAA took issue with a scene where a woman was on the receiving end of oral sex also suggests that Hollywood has a specific aversion to female sexuality.
While many readers found Fifty Shades of Grey to be an anti-feminist text, others have argued that because the focus is ultimately on Anastasia and her own sexual discovery, this is a story about a woman and her desires and pleasures. As such, it is a feminist narrative at its core. Ana experiences her own sexual revolution (among other things) throughout the course of the trilogy, and to quell that sex-based revolution and turn it into a mere romance where girl-meets-boy would really be a tragedy. It'd be like turning The Hunger Games into a story about a young girl who has a really tough time deciding between two loves. It's not totally out of left field, but it removes the most powerful aspect of the story; the girl is Katniss and Katniss is a warrior. Let's hope Ana's ever-important inner goddess (a "character" in the book who may have sounded totally ridiculous at times, but functioned as the one, true, unrepressed portion of Ana's psyche) does not get left out.
Sure, Fifty Shades of Grey is, at the end of it all, a love story. Then again, so was Blue Valentine, and more recently Blue Is the Warmest Color. But the latter is a powerful love story because of its stark depictions of desire and female-centered erotic experiences. Fifty Shades could have been a bold, excellent movie (regardless of the literary value of the original text) that highlighted a young woman's introduction into sex and so-called sexual deviance — and it still could be! But right now it sounds like it's shaping up to be one of a million romantic dramas. Entertaining enough, but ultimately forgettable, and in no small way problematic. Here's hoping director Sam Taylor-Johnson proves us wrong, avoids some of the clichés, and brings us something a bit more interesting.
Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston
Actress Dakota Johnson was forced to keep her casting in the upcoming Fifty Shades Of Grey film adaptation a secret from her famous parents Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson for weeks, because she feared they would accidentally leak the big news. The star offspring reveals she got the call she would play Anastasia Steele while shooting another movie in New York last summer (13), but she couldn't celebrate the news with her loved ones.
She tells America's Elle magazine, "Sometimes your parents are the ones with the biggest mouths of all time."
Instead, an emotional Johnson, who had been staying at a friend's house, burst into tears of joy and toasted her achievement with a strong drink.
She says, "I was just crying, and there were all these dogs in the house. This one dog was below my feet sleeping, and I was like, 'You f**ker, wake up, this is really exciting' - and then I had a glass of whiskey."
Johnson will star opposite Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the raunchy movie, based on the erotic series by E.L. James.
Universal Pictures/Focus Features
Do you see that photo above? That is supposed to be THE photo. The Fifty Shades of Grey promo photo that will be plastered onto billboards across the United States. The Fifty Shades of Grey promo photo that will send you running to the theatres come February 2015, Fifty Shades of Grey wine in one hand, extra panties stashed in your purse. (Yup, I said it.)
Well, is it doing it for ya? Yeah, us neither. Seriously?! What is it with all of these adorable, totally SFW images from the Fifty Shades of Grey publicity camp? It's enough that an R-rated film most likely won't show, like, 75 percent of the sex scenes that made the book the "mommy porn" that it was (which is why we're really banking on that NC-17 version). We're now being bombarded with these totally lame (as in, not erotic at all) photo shoots from Entertainment Weekly:
We get it -- subtlety! Romance implied! The sexual inference from the tie! The look in Jamie Dornan's eyes, which somehow translates all the pain, pride, and sexual prowess of billionaire Christian Grey! Whatever. The next promo photo better be at least somewhat NSFW, and feature Ana and Grey up in the Red Room. After all, isn't that why we're all here?
Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston
Tired of dealing with your own work drama? Why not read about someone else’s work drama, particularly the constant excitement on the set of Fifty Shades of Grey. Now we’re not talking about the hot and steamy excitement E.L. James’s book is known for, we’re talking about the constant crises behind the scenes.
First of all, no one could escape the casting controversy for the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey (unless you were living under a very big rock, like, a mountain-sized rock). First Charlie Hunnam was playing the sex god himself, Christian Grey, but fans were angry. Then Hunnam left the project and it was rumored Dakota Johnson, who will play Anastasia Steele, would have to leave as well if she didn’t have the right chemistry with the new actor. But after two weeks of uncertainty, the studio cast Jamie Dornan, and it seemed all the issues were resolved because Dornan and Johnson have “hot chemistry.”
But a movie of this magnitude couldn’t go quite that smoothly now could it? E! News reported tension between James and the film’s director Sam Taylor-Johnson. Reportedly they have had a disagreement over the script and how closely it will stick to the book.
As if that wasn’t enough, locals in Vancouver, British Columbia, where shooting is taking place, have begun sabotaging the film. While filming a rain scene (in which the production created artificial rain), residents were so unhappy they threatened to make the film pay for any water damage. Another man was so fed up with the noise he began ringing a cowbell loud enough to disturb shooting and they were forced to move to another location. (That’s certainly one way to get rid of noisy neighbors.)
For those of us that love reading juicy Hollywood gossip, the Fifty Shades of Grey film is constantly satisfying. It’s hard to believe the movie will be even a fraction as exciting. Hopefully Fifty Shades of Grey will live up to all the expectation, but if not, we’re expecting more behind the scenes gossip during the press tour. C’mon Dakota and Jamie, you can tell us what it was really like filming Fifty Shades of Grey.
The first shots of Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson shooting the much-anticipated movie adaptation of bestseller Fifty Shades Of Grey have appeared online a day after shooting began. The movie couple was photographed filming a coffee shop scene in Vancouver, Canada.
In the film, Dornan plays kinky billionaire Christian Grey and Johnson portrays sexually-adventurous student Anastasia Steele.
Prior to the shoot, Fifty Shades author E.L. James took to her Instagram page and posted a picture of the film's official clapperboard with the caption, "Action!"
Fifty Shades of Grey is set to hit cinemas in February, 2015.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com