Initially attracted to the project as a sort of “dysfunctional fairy tale,” Taylor-Johnson recently told U.K.’s The Sunday Times that her vision for the film was at odds with the book’s author, E.L. James.
“With the benefit of hindsight, would I go through Fifty Shades of Grey again? Of course I wouldn’t. I’d be mad,” she admitted.
James’s contract with the studio allowed her an unusual level of creative control, and despite her best efforts, Taylor-Johnson says she and the novelist could not get in sync.
“I like everyone — and I get really confused when they don’t like me. I was so confused by EL James. I don’t understand when I can’t navigate a person, when there’s no synergy,” she explained.
After filming, Taylor-Johnson gave credence to rumors that the two women hadn’t seen eye to eye onset when she announced she would not return to direct the sequels.
“Two different creative visions,” the director recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “Her vision versus mine, and they were polar opposite. Every scene was fought over. It was tough.”
Taylor-Johnson went on to compare the working relationship to “wading uphill through sticky tar.”
The crux of the disagreement, according to the director, was the degree to which the film would adhere to the books. “Her thing was, ‘This is what the fans expect.’ I’d be like, ‘Well, let’s try and hit those marks but create a new universe at the same time,’ ” Taylor-Johnson explained.
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This is not the first time she has spoken out about working with the novelist. After confirming she would not return to direct the sequels, Taylor-Johnson was vocal about tensions, telling Porter magazine, “We definitely fought, but they were creative fights and we would resolve them.”
She added, “We would have proper on-set barneys, and I’m not confrontational, but it was about finding a way between the two of us, satisfying her vision of what she’d written as well as my need to visualize this person on screen.”
Taylor-Johnson also spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about her marriage to actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who is 23 years her junior.
“If I gave a second thought to other people, I would be the unhappiest person, probably still in a miserable marriage,” she said about the age difference.
“People like to talk about it,” she added. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, but it works better than my last marriage.’ It’s lasted longer than a lot of my friends’ marriages.”