‘The Wolverine’ Scribe Comes In to Polish Up Ailing ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Screenplay

By October 30, 2013


While we’d love to lay off the reporting on Sam Taylor-Johnson’s upcoming adaptation of E.L. James’ bestselling (though that’s no accounting for taste) sex-heavy novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the production already seems so strangely plagued by weird news and big setbacks that we can’t quite help ourselves.

Though plenty of people would point to the production’s loss of its leading man earlier this month, when Charlie Hunnam unexpectedly jumped ship on the whole endeavor, we’re willing to go back still further, when the film didn’t have any talent attached for whole months after the book’s rights were picked up by Universal and Focus. The problem the film is now facing seems to be, oddly enough, a surplus of talent – at least when it comes to writers.

When Hunnam exited the film, there were persistent rumors that at least one of the reasons behind his quitting centered on the film’s script, adapted by Kelly Marcel (a somewhat new screenwriter who already has a Blacklist entry with this season’s Saving Mr. Banks), which Hunnam had done his own work on, work that was initially well-received but which Hunnam kept pressing on. That rumor was given a bit of credence by the news that Patrick Marber (Closer, Notes on a Scandal) had come on board to give Marcel’s script a polish. While these kinds of polishes are typical when it comes to big films like this one, it seems strange that the Fifty Shades team would let the news out, when it would inevitably be connected to Hunnam’s departure.

But now Marber isn’t the only other screenwriter on the project, as THR reports that Mark Bomback has now been hired to give the script yet another go-over (if we’re counting Hunnam’s notes, that’s four screenwriters with their hands in this big, messy Fifty Shades stew – see what happens when your source material is shoddy?). While Marber’s resume made sense when it came to the work, Bomback’s is one hell of a strange fit. Bomback’s most recent credits include The Wolverine, the Total Recall remake, and Live Free or Die Hard. What?


As /Film notes, however, Bomback did also write “2008′s Deception, a largely ignored thriller set in a sex club,” but that doesn’t seem like a credit to hang one’s hat on, especially when it comes to a film that is about action in a very different sense than the kind you’d find in a superhero film.

In other Fifty Shades news (there is so much!), production on the film has now been pushed back by one month. Despite the quick addition of Jamie Dornan in the leading man role, the team was unable to meet its original start date, and it’s unknown if this will impact the film’s release date of August 1, 2014.

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss, Film.com, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.