Fifty Shades adaptation lands its director

Director Samantha Taylor-Johnson and her actor husband Aaron attend a movie premiere. (Associated Press)

British filmmaker Samantha Taylor-Johnson has won the highly coveted job of directing the film adaptation of E.L. James' bestselling book Fifty Shades of Grey, according to a Deadline report.

Many major Hollywood directors were rumoured to be in the mix, including Gus Van Sant and Oscar-winning Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier. But Taylor-Johnson, 46, is a "natural fit" to bring the intensity and sexual chemistry between BDSM-loving billionaire Christian Grey and shy college student Anastasia Steele to the big screen, script writer Kelly Marcel told Deadline reporter Mike Fleming Jr.

Fleming Jr. described Taylor-Johnson, who made her feature film debut in 2009 with the BAFTA-nominated John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, as a "surprise choice." The director began a relationship with Nowhere Boy star Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass, Anna Karenina) with the couple marrying in 2012. It remains her only feature film to date. Before directing Nowhere Boy, Taylor-Johnson was a photographer and visual artist who often explored themes of human sexuality in her work.

Universal Pictures and Focus Features snagged the rights to Fifty Shades trilogy in 2012 after a furious bidding period.

Related links