Please bear with me as I turn a tiny bit of news into wild speculation/fanfic. Focus Features just issued a press release stating that Kelly Marcel has landed the highly coveted gig of turning E.L. James‘ Fifty Shades of Grey into a screenplay. Reportedly it was her screenplay Saving Mr. Banks, about Walt Disney’s quest to acquire the rights to Mary Poppins, that got her the job, even though that movie is still in production. We thought we’d take a look at Marcel’s IMDb page to see what else she had done and found out two interesting things: 1) She’s the creator of Terra Nova, that TV show we forgot to watch last year, and 2) she founded something called the Bad Dog Theater Company in London with none other than Mr. Tom Hardy.
Now, I’m a giant fan of Ian Somerhalder and a lot of the other hot actors people have been proposing to play BDSM-obsessed CEO Christian Grey, but ever since I read the book, I’ve been picturing Tom Hardy in the role. He’s just got that right combination of dangerous, sexy and vulnerable required to play the vulnerable overachiever. So even though I can find no actual evidence either of this Bad Dog Theater Company (besides its mention in various online bios), nor do I have any reason to believe Marcel has any pull in the casting of Fifty’s star, I need something like this to boost our spirits on a Monday afternoon. Hollywood, please listen to me for once.
[Photo: Warner Bros.]
So, you’ve feverishly read through most of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy — that third one takes some work, right — the movie is eons away, and now you’re getting kind of tired of seeing everyone, their mother and their brother-in-law reading the books on the train, the plane and everywhere in between. What’s next? Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by the pseudonymous Fanny Merkin (a.k.a. book blogger Andrew Shaffer) is kind of the perfect beach read for the end of summer and the end of your obsession.
If you have cleared fantasies of Christian and Ana and the Red Room of Pain from your mind, you might be starting to see the absurdities of the books’ plot and characters — how does no one call the authorities on Christian’s stalkerish behavior? How would a publishing company hire a girl fresh out of college to be an editor, regardless of who owns the place? The list goes on. Earl Grey just takes those absurdities a little further with the story of Anna Steal and Earl Grey.
The skeleton of the plot is the same, but the details are hilariously exaggerated. Anna’s roommate, “a total B,” is Kathleen Kraven, an alcoholic 38-year-old writer for Boardroom Hotties. Their friend Jin is a Brony, Before her interview of Earl, she has actually never ridden in an elevator because “we don’t have elevators in Portland.” Anna works at Walmart. Earl Grey buys Walmart in his efforts to impress/control her. Oh, and he’s not into your average BDSM — his version stands for “Bards, Dragons, Sorcery and Magick,” as in very sexy LARP-ing.
Probably some of you were a little too busy with, er, other things on your mind while reading Fifty Shades of Grey to realize author E.L. James was giving you the perfect playlist for your very own, um, enjoyment. Or if you’re that great a multi-tasker, in between buying that complete set of restraints and riding crops, you’ve already downloaded all the Thomas Tallis, Bach and more that accompanies Ana and Christian’s adventures in and out of the “Red Room of Pain,” For the rest of us, EMI has actually compiled a bunch of those songs into Fifty Shades of Grey – The Classical Album (alas, that means no Britney Spears or Kings of Leon will be included).
“I am thrilled that the classical pieces that inspired me while I wrote the Fifty Shades Trilogy are being brought together in one collection for all lovers of the books to enjoy,” James said in a press release from the label. The album drops digitally on August 21 and in CD format on September 18.
Here’s a track list to, um, whet your appetite:
“You know that best-selling book everyone loves? I haven’t read it,” says a female cyclist in Citibank’s “Dedication” ad airing during the Olympics. Except, wrong. According to Australia’s Herald Sun (via the Daily Mail), the Aussie ladies’ swim team has been making time in their schedule for that book everyone loves, Fifty Shades of Grey.
“Most of the swimming girls are reading Fifty Shades of Grey. We’re all talking about it,” said Alicia Coutts, who so far has a gold for the 4x100m freestyle relay, silvers for the 4×200 freestyle relay and the 200m IM, and a bronze for the 100m butterfly. She said her manager recommended the E.J. James book to her, and now she and her teammates use it to relax.
A more cynical writer (or less indulgent reader) might say this marks the moment that 50 Shades of Grey — or, more accurately, making fun of Fifty Shades of Grey — jumped the shark. Selena Gomez and Nick Kroll have made a Funny or Die video in which the teen queen fantasizes about her gross house painter as a result of reading a little too much E.L. James. But I’m not going to say that, because I have laughed at EVERY SINGLE ONE of these, and I’m showing no signs of tiring of the topic. Comedians of the world, you may still keep these parodies coming, for our appetite is as insatiable as Anastasia Steele’s. What I do fear is that by the time they get around to actually making the real movie, we won’t be able to take it seriously in the least. If we ever would have, that is. (OK, if Ian Somerhalder plays Christian, I promise to take it seriously.) Here five other readings/parodies to enjoy … until the next one comes along. None of these are SFW, btw.
1. Fifty Shades of Grey, the animated trailer. If you’ve read the book, I have two words of warning for you: blue string. If you haven’t, just prepare for some CGI gross. Read more…
Every year, Time does a pretty decent job combining pop culture personalities with businesspeople and super important political types for their 100 Most Influential People list, and this year is no exception. We’ll let you read about Hillary Clinton and Anthony Kennedy on your own time. We’re going to recap the people on the list who have some pretty hefty influence on these very blog pages. Here’s how they rank — in our expert opinion of ourselves — and why:
22. Tim Cook: For being Steve Jobs’ successor as CEO of Apple, from whom we will be buying lots of things until the end of time, even though we are still PC people.
21. Marc Andreessen: For being the co-creator of the first widely used web browser (Mosaic), who now owns part of, like every social media platform we use. So, thanks!
20. Walter Isaacson: One more geeky entry here for the Steve Jobs biography, since every other person we know has been reading it.
19. Louis C.K.: For being one of the most consistently funny people on TV and Web ever.
18. Jeremy Lin: Not necessarily for what he’s done for the Knicks as much as for what he’s done for punny headlines and tweets.
17. Raphael Saadiq: For making old-school soul so now.
16. Tim Tebow: For being the suspected football boyfriend of every “good” girl in Hollywood. And maybe now New York, too?