Jennifer Ehle Follows Up ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Role With Supporting Part in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

By October 8, 2013


While it seems completely unfathomable that the Fifty Shades of Grey film will be anything less than one of the greatest contributions to the world of S&M-based cult classic cinema, the big screen adaptation of the E.L. James bestseller continues to creep ever closer to signs of actual artistic merit.

Of course, that’s one way to look at the news that Zero Dark Thirty, The King’s Speech, and The Ides of March co-star (and leading lady of the finest television take on Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” ever) Jennifer Ehle has joined the film (as Dakota Johnson’s mother, of all things). The other is to bemoan the fact that a talented actress like Ehle has signed on for something as limp and laughable as the Fifty Shades film.


While we’re willing to give Ehle the benefit of the doubt, Deadline’s description of the role, “a strong Southern woman on her fourth marriage,” sounds just terrible and hammy and bad bad bad. Having never read James’ books (fine, I made it about ten pages in, just to see what the fuss was about, before quitting because it was so poorly written and really, really uncomfortable), it’s hard to say if Ehle’s part as “Carla” gets any better. There are three books in the series, after all. Something interesting has to happen with her, right? No? Because the books are about her daughter’s highly sexual relationship with a dude originally based on the vampire guy from Twilight? You’re probably right.

Fifty Shades of Grey will be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and is set to star Johnson and Charlie Hunnam. It will be released in the summer of 2014, on the most uncomfortable day in movie-going history.

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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,, 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.