Veteran filmmaker James Foley has emerged as the frontrunner to direct “Fifty Shades Darker,” the upcoming sequel to the blockbuster adaptation of E.L. James erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” that stormed the box-office back in February.
E.L. James’ husband, screenwriter Niall Leonard, adapted his the book, and both Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca return to produce the follow-up which is moving forward after the first film scored $569 million worldwide from a $40 million production budget, despite some scathing reviews.
The Wrap reports that several other directors who were up for the coveted gig but are now being notified that they’re no longer in the running. Another female filmmaker was initially sought to replace Sam Taylor-Johnson who helmed the first one, but they instead opted for the best candidate they had which was Foley.
Along with helming the classic “Glengarry Glen Ross” and the Mark Wahlberg thriller “Fear,” Foley has made a name for himself in recent years helming episodes of acclaimed shows like “Hannibal” and “House of Cards,” the latter of which Brunetti has also worked on.
There’s talk that both “Fifty Shades Darker” and the trilogy closer “Fifty Shades Freed” could be shot back-to-back, but a shooting schedule hasn’t been decided upon yet or if Foley would commit to directing both sequels. The films are currently targeting a February 2017 and February 2018 release.