The “Fifty Shades of Grey” sequels can’t come soon enough! To hold us over until the release of Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, let’s take a look at 20 facts about the first film based on E.L. James’s trilogy — including one about “sexual jellyfish.”
1. Angelina Jolie declined to direct the film before Sam Taylor-Johnson was attached.
2. Actresses auditioning to play Ana had to read a monologue from Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 film, Persona, to see if they were comfortable with the film’s subject matter.
3. Lucy Hale told Ellen DeGeneres that she auditioned for Ana and said it was “uncomfortable.” She was turned down for the role because she had a “baby face.”
4. Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam originally received the role of Christian but ended up backing out due to potential burnout he would have faced from filming SOA, Fifty Shades and Crimson Peak back-to-back. The role then went to Jamie Dornan.
5. In addition to heavy security and restricted sets, the production was named ”The Adventures of Max and Banks” to keep the filming locations a secret. Max is the name of novelist’s James’s dog and Banks is the name of screenwriter Kelly Marcel’s dog.
6. Marcel told Bret Easton Ellis in his podcast that the original screenplay was more non-linear than the finished product. She wanted the film to start at the belt scene at the end and meet in the middle with various flashbacks and flash forwards. James said the script was not what she wanted it to be and the two writers worked side-by-side to make it James’s ideal version. This is why Marcel has stated that she will likely never see the film because it breaks her heart that her version of the script will never be realized.
7. Taylor-Johnson wanted an impressionistic scene with “sexual jellyfish” where the audience would delve into Ana’s mind in a dream sequence. Since no one involved in the production understood the scene, it had to be deleted. Taylor-Johnson was sad to see it go.
8. Dornan instinctively walks on his toes and had to learn a new way of walking to portray Christian.
9. Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele) says she cries when laughing and her make-up had to be re-done several times during her giggling fits while filming some scenes. Dornan said that her crying initially confused him but he got used to it after awhile.
10. Johnson made sure not to do any research about BDSM prior to filming since she wanted to genuinely experience Ana’s enlightenment and shock. In contrast, Dornan spent time in a London sex dungeon, explored the Red Room and consulted the film’s on-set BDSM technical consultant to help him channel Christian.
11. While the film is set in the beginning of summer, it was actually filmed from Dec. 1-March 1 in Vancouver due to the release date and the casts’ availability. The overcast skies in Vancouver at the time helped contribute to the film’s moody atmosphere.
12. Washington State College’s graduation bibs are red with a grey trim. However, with the college’s permission, the production designers had the colors flipped so the grey would overpower the red to symbolize Christian’s mind.
13. For the Grey house, the producers found two houses built side-by-side for two brothers who were entrepreneurs in the 1920s. One house was used for the exterior and the dining room while the other featured the glass-enclosed pool in the room where Christian fights with Ana about going to Georgia.
14. The set for Ana and Kate’s (Eloise Mumford) apartment was located upstairs from the bar where Ana gets drunk.
15. The set decorators tried to subliminally include certain images to foreshadow later scenes. This included showing scenes through grids and grills at Clayton’s hardware store since we will later see grids and grills in Christian’s Red Room.
16. The set decorators intentionally tried not to use the color red in the film during the earlier scenes to provide more impact once we see Christian’s Red Room.
17. The film’s sex scenes make up 14 minutes and 17 seconds of the film’s 125-minute runtime.
18. The sex scenes were the final scenes filmed in an effort to allow Johnson and Dornan time to become more comfortable with each other.
19. Between takes of the sex scenes, Dornan would cover Johnson up to make her feel more secure when the cameras stopped rolling.
20. Dornan had a body double during some of his nude scenes where his face wasn’t displayed. Additionally, Johnson had a body double during the belt scene toward the end.