‘50 Shades of Grey’ movie lands its screenwriter

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“50 Shades of Grey” moved one step closer to its big-screen adaptation Monday with Universal Pictures and its subsidiary Focus Features announcing the hiring of Kelly Marcel to adapt the bestseller into a feature film.

Marcel, 38, is best known for writing the spec script “Saving Mr. Banks,” which landed on the Black List in 2011 and is now being turned into a feature film starring Tom Hanks for Universal Pictures. That film centers on the story of Walt Disney’s 20-year pursuit of the film rights to author P.L. Travers’ novel “Mary Poppins” and the rocky relationship that formed between the two.

Hanks is playing Disney; Emma Thompson takes on the role of Travers.

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Producer Michael De Luca said in a statement that Marcel’s work on “Mr. Banks” demonstrated her “flawless structural technique” and “passionate commitment to emotion, humor and depth of character.”

Added producer Dana Brunetti, “We were all taken with the depth and passion of Kelly’s engagement with the characters and world E. L. James has created, and we knew she was the right person to augment our ‘Fifty Shades’ family.”

Since the originally self-published “Fifty Shades of Grey” was released more formally earlier this year, the trilogy, centering on college-age Anastasia Steele and her torrid affair with billionaire Christian Grey, has become a global phenomenon and has been translated into 45 languages worldwide.

In the U.S. alone, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has sold more than 32 million copies in e-book and print, making it one of the fastest-selling book series ever.

The British Marcel’s other credits include serving as the co-creator and executive producer of the Fox television series “Terra Nova,” for which she wrote the series pilot episode. She will also produce “The Madonnas of Echo Park” for HBO.

The former child actor has also formed a theater company with actor Tom Hardy. The two met when Marcel did an emergency rewrite of Hardy’s film “Bronson,” in addition to writing two comedy dramas with the actor.



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