'Fifty Shades of Grey' movie rights acquired by Universal and Focus Features

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The erotically charged novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already become a phenomenon among eBook readers, but now it will be titillating on a much larger screen.

Universal Pictures and Focus Features announced this morning they have acquired film rights to the novel authored by TV executive and mother of two, E.L. James, with plans to create a trilogy out of the novel and its two sequels. “At its core, this is a romance of the most emotionally resonant, but delicate, order — and we look forward to working with our colleagues at Universal to transform E.L. James’ vision into a great film,” says Focus Features chief James Schamus.

The book is about wealthy 27-year-old, Christian Grey, who engages in a dominant/submissive love affair with 21-year-old college student Anastasia Steele.

In her B-plus review of the novel, which began life as Twilight fan fiction, EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum placed the book in the tradition of erotic literature ranging from The Story of O, Toni Bentley’s The Surrender, and Catherine Millet’s The Sexual Life of Catherine M.

Fifty Shades of Grey, as well as the subsequent novels in the series, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, which continue the relationship of the two kinky lovers, currently occupy the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 spots on the list of best-selling eBooks.  Subsequent novels in the series, Fifty Shades Darker (September 2011) and Fifty Shades Freed (January 2012) explore the couple’s deepening relationship.

On April 3, Vintage Books will release a new trade paperback edition of Fifty Shades of Grey, with the sequels coming out a few weeks later on April 17.

No date was set for when the film might begin or be released, and of course, no casting has been decided on.

It’s the perfect time for fans to weigh in — who would you put in the roles of Christian and Anastasia? And should this movie be R rated or indulge in the racier (and, in terms of box office, riskier) NC-17?

Read more:
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ — EW review
‘Fifty Shades of Grey': A winning romance novel goes from fan fiction to viral hit


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