Mr. Fifty Shades is getting in on the action.
EL James, the author of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, has enlisted her husband to write the script for the sequel, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Niall Leonard, who is married and has two sons with the British author, is an author himself, in addition to being a screenwriter. He’s written for the British TV shows Air Force One Is Down and Wire in the Blood, among others. He’s also the author of the Crusher book series. He also worked on the script for the first Fifty Shades but was not credited.
“Niall is an outstanding writer in his own right, with multiple established credits, and we are lucky to have him join Team Fifty,” says producer Michael De Luca in a statement to THR.
James, whose real name is Erika Leonard, has been credited with keeping a strong amount of creative control when it comes to Universal’s adaptations of her books. On the first film, she clashed with director Sam Taylor-Johnson about many aspects of the film, including the ending. Neither Taylor-Johnson nor screenwriter Kelly Marcel are returning for the sequel.
Due to the exit of Taylor-Johnson and Marcel, and the fact that stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, are negotiating for more money for the sequel, there hasn’t been much news on the follow-up. The first film earned a massive $568.8 million worldwide.
There have been rumors circling that James wanted to write the screenplay herself. But having her husband work on it may be a happy compromise since he has screenwriting experience that James lacks.
He’s repped by Valerie Hoskins in the U.K.
Rita Ora will return for both Fifty Shades of Grey sequels.
The news came to light last week after WikiLeaks republished its leaked Sony Pictures emails with a new, Google-style search engine. Ora portrayed Christian Grey’s (Jamie Dornan) adoptive sister, Mia Grey, in the first film, and will reprise the role in Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.
“Excited for you to meet Rita Ora tomorrow,” the 24-year-old singer’s U.S. agent, Franklin Latt, wrote to then-Sony Pictures chairwoman Amy Pascal in November 2014. “We all sat with her today and she’s an incredible spark.”
“She’d love to continue working with great artists and find unique-strong female characters along the way,” he added. “Rita, 23, will appear in Universal’s upcoming FIFTY SHADES OF GREY playing the role of ‘Mia Grey’ and will appear in the next two installments of the movie.”
Ora released her first studio album, Ora, in August 2012, and has a second record in the works. The British singer made her acting debut in an episode of ITV series The Brief in 2004, and will appear in boxing drama Southpaw with Jake Gyllenhaal.