THE SOCIAL NETWORK’s Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti to Produce FIFTY SHADES OF GREY Film Adaptation

     July 9, 2012

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Though it’s tough to argue for the artistic merit of something that began as Twilight fan fiction written on the internet, we’re starting to get an idea of what the feature film adaptation of E.L. James’ “mommy porn” trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey might look like.  Producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti have been tapped by Universal and Focus Features to produce the big screen iteration of Fifty Shades of Grey.  Somewhat surprisingly the studios did not choose some tween pandering or hyper-commercial duo, as De Luca and Brunetti both produced David Fincher’s The Social Network, with De Luca also producing one of last year’s best films, Moneyball.  Focus Features CEO Donna Langley had this to say about the hiring:

“At its core, Fifty Shades of Grey is a complex love story, requiring a delicate and sophisticated hand to bring it to the big screen. Mike and Dana’s credits more than exemplify what we need in creative partners and we’re glad to have them as part of our team.”

Hit the jump for more.

fifty-shades-of-grey-book-coverFor those living under a rock, the erotic novel series traces the deepening relationship between a female college graduate and a young business magnate.  James’ idea of a “deepening relationship” includes a good deal of filthy, submissive sex packed to the brim with BDSM (pun intended).  I hold little esteem for this kind of smut, but I have to admit that De Luca and Brunetti’s involvement has me slightly intrigued.

I’ve no idea if this will steer closer to Showgirls or something like Story of O, but De Luca and Brunetti have some winners on their resumes.  The duo are currently producing Paul Greengrass’ next film, Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks and they’re also behind Frank Darabont’s period TNT series L.A. Noir.  Now we wait to see who they nab to direct and adapt this damn thing.  Read the full press release below.

LOS ANGELES, CA, July 9, 2012—Universal Pictures and Focus Features today announced that veteran producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti will produce Fifty Shades of Grey. De Luca and Brunetti will produce the film based on E L James’ #1 Bestselling book alongside James. The announcement was made by Universal Pictures Co-Chairman, Donna Langley and Focus Features’ Chief Executive Officer, James Schamus.

In March, Universal Pictures and Focus Features announced the acquisition of rights to the entire Fifty Shades Trilogy with Focus Features marketing and distributing the first film in partnership with Universal. To date, Vintage Books has sold 31 million e-book and print copies of the trilogy in English-language markets worldwide. In the U.S. alone, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has sold over 20 million copies in e-book and print making it one of the fastest selling book series ever.

“At its core, Fifty Shades of Grey is a complex love story, requiring a delicate and sophisticated hand to bring it to the big screen,” said Langley. “Mike and Dana’s credits more than exemplify what we need in creative partners and we’re glad to have them as part of our team.”

“Michael De Luca is a dream producer, whose combination of vision, taste and fearlessness is the perfect match for Fifty Shades of Grey,” said Schamus.

As an award-winning producer, De Luca has made his mark on some of the most critically-acclaimed films of the last few years including 2011’s Best Picture nominee Moneyball starring Brad Pitt as Oakland A’s former general manager, Billy Beane. Brunetti and De Luca served together as producers with Scott Rudin and Cean Chaffin on The Social Network which earned critical accolades, including an Academy Award® nomination for Best Picture. Brunetti and De Luca are collaborating with Scott Rudin on the upcoming Tom Hanks’ film Captain Phillips, the true story of a cargo ship captain held hostage by Somali pirates and rescued by Navy SEALs. Other film credits for De Luca include I Am Sam, Blow, Magnolia, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Wag the Dog, American History X and Boogie Nights. Additional film credits for Brunetti include Casino Jack, 21, Fanboys, Beyond The Sea and Safe.

“I am thrilled that Mike has joined Team Fifty,” said E L James. “He brings a passion for and in-depth understanding of the characters and story, and a wealth of experience in making quality films.”

“Dana and I are both grateful and honored to be invited to join this team,” said De Luca. “We deeply respect and admire the kinds of films Donna, James and Jeb have been responsible for and are very excited to be joining Erika in a collaboration to bring her vision of this once in a lifetime, provocative and resonant love story to the screen.”

“Fifty Shades of Grey” follows the relationship of 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele. Subsequent novels in the series, “Fifty Shades Darker” (September 2011) and “Fifty Shades Freed” (January 2012) explore the couple’s deepening relationship.

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