Angelina Jolie

“It would have to be a certain kind of film”: Angelina Jolie Addressed Helming $1.3B Fifty Shades of Grey Franchise after Mark Wahlberg Lost Production Rights

Angelina Jolie, who made her directorial debut in 2011 with the war drama “In the Land of Blood and Honey“, went on to write and direct two more well-reviewed movies, based on a somewhat similar genre. Since she decided to work behind the camera, a fun rumor circulated in H-town that Jolie was approached to direct the Fifty Shades trilogy.

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie was “informally” approached for directing Fifty Shades of Grey

Angelina Jolie, being a hardcore fan of the English author E. L. James’ steamy novels of the same name, did admit that even though she liked the idea, she was looking forward to what Sam (Taylor-Johnson) would do with the movie adaptation. Mark Wahlberg, on the other hand, wept after losing the production right to a trilogy, that turned out to be a $1.3 billion franchise.

Angelina Jolie Almost Helmed Direction Of Fifty Shades of Grey

When it was decided that E.L. James’ steamy novel, Fifty Shades would be adapted into the movie version, a lot of A-listers got to work. But before all of that, it was Angelina Jolie who became the talk of the town for directing the trilogy.

But again, Angelina Jolie herself came forward and addressed these rumors, first laughing at them, and then stating why she didn’t direct Fifty Shades of Grey. Despite being a fan of E.L. James’ erotic novel, she was more interested in seeing what Sam (Taylor-Johnson) would do with the movie.

Also Read: Angelina Jolie Refused $703M Franchise Role, Accepted it Only after Being Promised a World Tour: “They said you can travel the world”

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades of Grey (2015).
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades of Grey (2015).

She said in an interview:

“I came very clear out of the gate: after In the Land of Blood and Honey, if I ever directed again, it would have to be a certain kind of film.

You know, I’m looking forward to seeing what Sam (Taylor-Johnson) does with Fifty Shades and she’s amazing,”

“It’s funny, I think with directing, you just think: I’m better at telling some stories than others, but, um, who knows?”

Angelina Jolie went on to direct Unbroken in 2014, and First They Killed My Father in 2017. The former war movie was based on the 2010 non-fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand while the latter biographical thriller narrated the story of a child soldier during the Khmer Rouge regime. That’s the kind of stories Jolie is good at.

Also Read: “I’m not attracted to you whatsoever”: Angelina Jolie Fell Out of Love with Brad Pitt after Watching Him as a Gym Trainer in His $168 Million Movie

Mark Wahlberg Was Desperate For The Film’s Rights

While Angelina Jolie declared that she’d rather prefer to enjoy the Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed movie, it was Mark Wahlberg who lost several nights of sleep. The actor-turned-producer revealed in 2013 that he tried and failed to win the bidding war, losing the film right for E.L James’ Fifty Shades Of Grey.

The Oscar-nominee’s desperation was such that he almost fired his agent Ari Emanuel when the team lost the bidding to Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti. Other production companies like Warner Bros. and Paramount were also among the losers. The Departed actor said in an interview:

“I almost fired my agent, Ari. We were aware of the book from very early on, and we were close to securing the rights, and then we get into this bidding war.”

Mark Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg regrets losing the film rights of the $1.3 billion erotica franchise

Even though Wahlberg had no intention to star in the $1.3 billion franchise, he did want to own the film rights, and well, only a fool wouldn’t want to. Not only this, Mark Wahlberg had already found his Christian Grey and wanted Jolie’s ex-husband, Brad Pitt to star in the “aggressive and domineering” role.

The winning went to Universal Studios and Focus Features, at $ 5 million. The other two installments, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed were directed by James Foley. The $1.3 billion erotica trilogy is available for streaming on Apple TV+.

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