British director Joe Wright has become a known commodity in Hollywood for coaxing stylish yet substantive literary adaptations such as “
Wright has reportedly emerged as the upstart front-runner to direct the hotly anticipated adaptation of E.L. James bestselling bondage romance "Fifty Shades of Grey" for Universal and Focus Features.
Although no deal is currently in place, sources tell Variety and the Hollywood Reporter that after a lengthy search, the director is the leading candidate for his presumed ability to bring prestige and gravitas to material that could play as cheesy -- or potentially offensive -- porn-light in less capable hands.
Universal did not immediately respond for comment.
Universal and Focus have indicated commitment to hiring someone from the art house film community for “Fifty Shades” with Bennett Miller (“Capote,” “Moneyball”), Gus Van Sant (
"Fifty Shades of Grey" chronicles a steamy S&M relationship between Gen Y billionaire Christian Grey and (initially) virginal college student Anastasia Steele -- a character whose fragrant interior monologue includes such observations as, "My inner goddess is beside herself, hopping from foot to foot. Anticipation hangs heavy over my head like a dark tropical storm cloud. Butterflies flood my belly -- as well as a darker, carnal, captivating ache as I try to imagine what he will do to me."