At the risk of sounding vulgar, Fifty Shades of Grey left a bad taste in viewers’ mouths, but no one tasted it more than director Sam Taylor-Johnson. According to reports, she consistently sparred with author E.L. James, who had an unprecedented amount of creative control and no doubt contributed to the atrocity that was the final theatrical release. Spoiler alert! Johnson isn’t returning for the sequel, but it seems she has decided on her next project, which will be a political thriller centering on Senator Ted Kennedy
The Hollywood Reporter reveals Johnson is in talks with Apex Entertainment to direct Chappaquiddick. The title refers to Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts, which, on July 18, 1969, became the site of a tragic car accident. Kennedy drove his car off a bridge and into the water below. He managed to escape and swim to shore, but his passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, died. Kennedy didn’t report the incident for about 10 hours and, after it was made into a national scandal, he received a two-month suspended jail sentence.
Said producer Mark Ciardi of the film’s subject:
I’ve done a lot of true life stories, many sports stories, but this one had a deep impact on this country. Everyone has an idea of what happened on Chappaquiddick and this strings together the events in a compelling and emotional way. You’ll see what he had to go through.
Chappaquiddick is written by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan, and will be produced by Ciardi, Campbell McInnes, and Chris Cowles. Casting is already begun and filming is scheduled to begin in late spring.
Before Johnson’s career was marked by Fifty Shades, her first feature film was Nowhere Boy, which centered on another historical figure, John Lennon. It received much higher acclaim than the Twilight-turned-BDSM-romance, which isn’t saying much except that Chappaquiddick seems more in line with what she’s used to. Here’s hoping this project is so good that people forget about the Shade of it all.