Fifty Shades of Grey: Sam Taylor-Johnson defends movie after domestic abuse protests

The director insists that those taking issue should 'see it before they judge it'

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The Independent Culture

Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson has defended her movie after domestic abuse activists protested outside the London premiere last night.

One group of campaigners were removed from the (grey) carpet after unfurling a banner reading “Christian Grey is a rapist”, while others brandished signs claiming to be Fifty Shades of Blue because “not all Anas survive their Christians”.

Taylor-Johnson, however, insists that those taking issue with the film’s BDSM theme should “see it before they judge it”.

Jamie Dornan on 'protecting' Dakota Johnson in the Red Room

“It’s very important to understand that we did empower this character and that everything she does in her sexual exploration is done willingly and consensually,” she told The Independent.

“The moment a line is crossed, there’s a very powerful ‘no’, so I think actually we’re delivering a very different message to what those people are expecting. They should wait and see.”

The English filmmaker, known for her work on John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, added that she “felt a certain responsibility to empower the character of Anastasia” and being a female director helped.

“I wanted to give her a strength, to take her right through to the end and give her the final word,” she said. “[Being a woman] helped when I shot the more intimate scenes, as Dakota [Johnson, who plays Ana] and I had built up a powerful trust.

“[Empowering Anastasia] was something Dakota and I finessed along the way. We were on-set thinking ‘How do we feel as two strong women about saying this and do we feel like it’s right?’. I’m proud of where we got to.”


Taylor-Johnson’s on-set battles with author EL James have been widely reported, and she confirmed that yes, there were “definitely challenges”.

Asked whether or not it was true that James threatened to warn her millions of Twitter followers against the film if the book was not adhered to, the director said bluntly: “I should hope not”.

It was seemingly confirmed last week that two Fifty Shades sequels are in the pipeline, but Taylor-Johnson was quick to assert that nothing had been made official.

“I have a feeling discussions are going on behind closed doors but I’ve heard nothing so I’m as in the dark as everybody else on this,” she said.

Judging by the hype around this one, no-one will be surprised to see Fifty Shades fever strike again.