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Jamie Dornan opens up about behind-the-scenes ‘breakage’ that spoilt Fifty Shades of Grey

All three films in the trilogy went down disastrously with critics

Ellie Harrison
Saturday 30 December 2023 15:37 GMT
Fifty Shades Of Grey - Trailer

Jamie Dornan has opened up, in an interview with The Independent, about how director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s departure from the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise affected the film series.

Dornan starred as kinky business magnate Christian Grey in all three films in the trilogy from 2015 to 2018. The movies were all received disastrously by critics, at the same time turning Dornan into a global film star.

Taylor-Johnson was brought on to direct the first film, and she, Dornan and his co-star Dakota Johnson had a shared vision for the trilogy, but it clashed with that of the author behind the novels, EL James.

Taylor-Johnson once said that “every scene was fought over”, comparing her dynamic with James to “wading uphill through sticky tar”.

After the first film, Taylor-Johnson was replaced by director James Foley, and screenwriter Kelly Marcel was replaced by EL James’s husband Niall Leonard. They worked together on the subsequent two films, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.

“It was very different without Sam there,” Dornan told The Independent. “You go into these things where you build all that faith and trust with a person and then that person is taken away.

“There’s a breakage, and it’s mended in a way that doesn’t fit the same way as it did before.”

Johnson and Dornan in ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ (Universal Pictures/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Cracking a wry smile, he added: “That’s the way I’m gonna say that. It was difficult for lots of reasons. But the sensitivity and understanding that Sam had around it all was, I thought, pretty vital.”

The subsequent two films were shot back-to-back, under the direction of Foley.

“The first one made a ton of money, but critics didn’t like it – so that in itself moved the goalposts,” said Dornan. “It was a uniquely odd experience, and I would have really liked to have seen it be what it was originally set out to be under Sam.”

Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in 2022 (Getty Images)

Taylor-Johnson’s other film credits include 2009’s Nowhere Boy, a biopic about the childhood of John Lennon. Next year, her Amy Winehouse biopic Back to Black, starring Marisa Abela, will be released.

Elsewhere in the interview, Dornan spoke about his stalker publicly for the first time.

Dornan can next be seen in series two of The Tourist, which airs on BBC One on New Year’s Day.

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