50 Shades of Grey may be the next big Academy Award winner.
E.L. James, the author of the best-selling erotic novels, has chosen Oscar-winning The Social Network producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti to produce the highly-anticipated movie.
De Luca, who has also produced Moneyball, and Brunetti both know how to turn novels into films -- The Social Network was based on The Accidental Billionaires; Moneyball was based on the Michael Lewis book by the same name. 50 Shades of Grey, which is about a mysterious billionaire businessman who seduces a virginal college grad and introduces her to his sexual aggression, will be the next book-to-film adaptation for these producers.
While the books have been called poorly written and even sexist, the movie may actually be a top-notch production. De Luca and Brunetti are highly respected, and beat out top Hollywood producers Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind) and Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher (Pulp Fiction). Golden-Globe nominee Ryan Gosling is a favorite to play Christian Grey.
The strength of the film, however, may rely on the director. The director choice will reveal the overall mood of the film - whether more rom-com, action-adventure, thriller, or drama. So who are favorites to lead the pack?
1) Angelina Jolie
The A-list actress made her directorial debut with In the Land of Blood and Honey, and it would be great to see a woman directing the movie with such a huge female following. The drama about the Bosnian War allegedly impressed studio executives involved in 50 Shades of Grey.
2) Mark Wahlberg
The Ted star tried to buy the rights to the 50 Shades of Grey film, so he’s clearly interested. As an actor, producer, and former rapper, Wahlberg has proved he’s multi-talented, so director could be his next role.
3) Steven Soderbergh
Soderberg just directed Magic Mike, the movie about male strippers, proving he knows how to package nudity more seriously. With movies such as Ocean’s Eleven and Erin Brockovich under his belt, Soderberg can create quality yet accessible films.
4) Channing Tatum
Tatum has said he wants to start directing. I think Tatum is such an underrated talent; he wowed me with his acting and dancing skills in Magic Mike. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had directorial vision as well.
5) Gary Marshall
The director of Pretty Woman is more well-suited to romantic comedies, but was reportedly considered in early talks for the film.
6) Nick Cassavetes
Cassavetes directed The Notebook, so he’s got romance down pat. He also directed Alpha Dog, the drug drama based on a real-life story, proving that he can handle grit and romance.
7) Paul Greengrass
The director of two Bourne movies is now working on Captain Phillips with De Luca and Brunetti. Greengrass often dramatizes real-life events, which would give the film the grittiness and accessibility that makes the books so popular. (He is also known for using a shaky camera. Hmm.)
8) Gary Ross
Having worked closely with 50 Shades of Grey producers, Ross may be a strong pick. He recently showed his ability to balance violence with tenderness in The Hunger Games.
9) Robert Luketic
Luketic is a romantic comedy director most famous for Legally Blonde. But he also directed the casino thriller 21 with De Luca and Brunetti as producers, so we see he can venture outside his light-hearted material.
10) Catherine Hardwicke
50 Shades of Grey was originally Twilight fanfiction, so the director of the first Twilight film may be well-suited to adapting the adult novel.
11) Jason Reitman
The director of indie teen flick Juno would give 50 Shades of Grey a hipster, off-beat vibe.