Director Sam Taylor-Johnson Discusses 'Fifty Shades of Grey' On-Set Battles

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Sam Taylor-Johnson

Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter and shed some light on the much talked about on set battles that she had with author and producer, E.L. James.

"Two different creative visions," Taylor-Johnson says of the dynamic with the novelist. "Her vision versus mine, and they were polar opposite. Every scene was fought over. It was tough. It was like wading uphill through sticky tar. Her thing was, 'This is what the fans expect.' I'd be like, 'Well, let's try and hit those marks but create a new universe at the same time.' "


Wading through sticky tar?! Not good! Johnson goes on to talk about how Universal eventually dropped her from the sequel, Fifty Shades Darker.

"There was a tentative plan that I would be involved with the following two," reveals Taylor-Johnson. "[But the studio] wanted to see how the first one went before any discussion. It went well in terms of box office. But less well with my relationship with Erika."


James Foley was eventually hired to direct Fifty Shades Darker. While Fifty Shades of Grey grossed $571 million, Darker topped out at $378.8 million. Taylor-Johnson laments that even though Fifty Shades of Grey became one the highest-grossing live-action films directed by a woman and broke numerous other records, new job offers didn't come pouring in.

"There weren't any flat-out offers straight away," she says. "It was ego-denting, which may not have been a bad thing. At the same time, I was like, 'Oh, I still have to keep fighting for stuff.' I just thought it was going to come a lot easier."


Taylor-Johnson eventually did land a new gig, and her first TV one at that - a Netlix original series called Gypsy. It stars Naomi Watts as a therapist who gets over-involved in her patients' lives. She's executive producer of the new series and directed the first two episodes.

"Netflix was involved," she says. "They were there. But not with any muscle-flexing need to show power. They left me alone to do what I do best."


Do you plan on watching Sam Taylor-Johnson's new Netflix series?

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