James Foley has been officially offered the job to direct the “Fifty Shades of Grey” sequel after news broke two weeks ago that he was Universal’s top choice for the project.
Deadline Hollywood first reported that Foley was a front-runner for “Fifty Shades Darker” and sources now tell Variety that negotiations are expected to start shortly. Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson are attached to reprise their roles, with author E.L. James, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti producing. James’ husband, Niall Leonard, penned the script.
Execs had been meeting with directors over the past several months since Sam Taylor-Johnson, who directed the first film in the trilogy, announced that she would not be returning to helm.
Production will begin in the first quarter of 2016, with the film set to bow on Feb. 14, 2017. Casting should get under way once Foley’s deal is worked out.
Foley directed several stylish dramas in the 1980s and ’90s, including “After Dark, My Sweet,” “At Close Range,” “Fear” and “Glengarry Glen Ross.” His first film was the 1984 romance “Reckless,” which starred Daryl Hannah and Aidan Quinn as lovers from opposite backgrounds. He most recently worked on Netflix’s “House of Cards.”