Saturday, February 21, 2015

LIST: Directors Who Should Have Directed Fifty Shades of Grey

I read Fifty Shades of Grey. I saw Fifty Shades of Grey. It didn't suck. But I can't seem to stop myself from thinking about all the other, potentially better versions of that film we will never get to see, so I decided to entertain myself. Whose version of Fifty Shades would have been, if not better, then at least more interesting, than Sam Taylor-Johnson's? Here are my Top Ten, in alphabetical order:

Pedro Almodovar - Law of Desire is one of the sexiest films ever, and if it's bondage you want, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! is where you should go. Almodovar has also dealt with the book's major themes of identity and coming of age in various films, most notably All About My Mother and Bad Education.

Lee Daniels - At the very least, his version would have been an entertaining mess. Daniels plays around with form a lot, and I can't help but wonder if he would have found a cool way of visualizing the novel's (admittedly, hilariously awful) conceit of the dialogue of Ana's "inner goddess".

David Fincher - Let's be clear: I don't think this would have happened in a million years, but Fincher's cool formalism would have been a good match for this, and as Fight Club and Gone Girl have shown, he knows his way around a strange sex scene. Plus, he got his start making sexy as hell music videos for the likes of Madonna ("Express Yourself") and Paula Abdul ("Cold Hearted").

Adrian Lyne - The master of the erotic drama, Lyne is the man behind Unfaithful (which boasted an Oscar-nominated performance from Diane Lane), Lolita (with Jeremy Irons), Fatal Attraction (another Oscar nominee), Indecent Proposal, Flashdance, and 9 1/2 Weeks (the big screen's big kahuna for kinky sex). Basically, his name on a project is a guarantee of well-made, steamy sex scenes.

Madonna - Hear me out. This is the woman who recorded "Erotica" and made it a hit Billboard single. The woman who made a coffee-table book called Sex. The woman who, in her fifties, posed in leather dominatrix gear on her album cover. Yes, W.E. was terrible. But if there's one thing Madonna knows, it's sex. And if you think a woman who has exerted this much control over her image throughout her career hasn't learned something about capturing hot, rough sex on film, you're crazy.

Nicolas Roeg - Three words: Don't Look Now. The 70s film was banned for the too-sexy sex scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Perhaps the guy's still got it?

Steven Shainberg - Don't recognize the name? I don't blame you. Shainberg is the man behind the 2002 film Secretary, in which Maggie Gyllenhaal gets involved in a BDSM relationship with her boss James Spader. It's sexy and darkly comic, which would be a good tone for a film adaptation of Fifty Shades. Of course, he's also the director of the terrible Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, so who knows about his taste level... but the fact remains that Secretary is a near-perfect calling card for this gig.

Lars von Trier - DUH. If you wanted a no-holds-barred, NC-17 version of Fifty Shades, this is the man who was most likely to deliver it. Granted, he probably would have had Charlotte Gainsbourg play Ana, and it's is very likely that his version would have also been the misogynistic, anti-feminist version the haters of Fifty Shades want it to be, but of all the directors on this list, he's probably the one whose version of the film I would want to see most.

The Wachowski Siblings - One word: Bound. They're now known for their action spectacles in the wake of The Matrix, but they got their start with this incredibly sexy neo-noir starring Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon. And as we've seen from the Matrix films, they know how to make leather fetish gear look good on film. If they bring on their Cloud Atlas collaborator Tom Tykwer, then so much the better!

John Waters - If you wanted the camp disasterpiece version of Fifty Shades, this is the only human being alive who could have possibly delivered a good one. His filmography revels in it, while never ever shortchanging his characters. Unless they deserve it. I actually REALLY wish this had happened.


  1. Now that is a very interesting list of filmmakers who should've done the film. Madonna in the early 90s would've been interesting but she's not that person anymore and just seems to try to hard to be relevant these days. As for everyone else, you can bet my ass that I will be there.

    1. Thanks! I've always seen Madonna as the ultimate chameleon, shaping her public image to reflect whatever theme of the project she's currently working on - notice how toned down and "glamorous" she looked when promoting W.E.? I think she could have really sunk her teeth into this material, especially if she was able to take herself back to whatever headspace she was in during the early 90s.