E.L. James, author of "Fifty Shades of Grey" and its subsequent sequels, won't be writing the next movie in the series, contrary to earlier rumors — but she's keeping the script in the family all the same.
James' husband Niall Leonard has been selected to pen the script for "Fifty Shades Darker," the next chapter in the story of submissive Anastasia Steele and dominant Christian Grey. He's the author of the "Crusher" series of novels, about a boxer who regularly engages the London criminal underworld. Leonard's also written for British shows "Air Force One is Down," "Wild at Heart" and more.
Producer Michael De Luca tells THR that Leonard "is an outstanding writer in his own right, with multiple established credits, and we are lucky to have him join Team Fifty."
The news comes after reports that James wanted to write the "Fifty Shades" sequel herself, raising eyebrows due to her lack of screenwriting experience. Looks like that's no longer an issue, now that "Fifty Shades Darker" has a screenwriter — and it's not tough to imagine James having a great deal of input, considering she shares a roof with the new writer.
Now, with a writer on board, the next big step is to find a new director for the "Fifty Shades" franchise. Sam Taylor-Johnson officially parted ways with the sequel in March, following more than a few reports of tension between the filmmaker and James throughout the making of "Fifty Shades."