Despite not having a confirmed cast, the movie version of EL James’s best-selling erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, has a release date. To be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy), the film is set to open in the US on August 1, 2014 – after the main blockbusters have hit the theatres. August is traditionally a good month for major female-oriented releases – The Help and Julie & Julia, for example, both opened in August.
The leads are expected to be announced soon. Names previously mentioned for the role of Christian Grey include Ian Somerhalder, Henry Cavill, Matt Bomer, Robert Pattinson and Alex Pettyfer; Anastasia Steele contenders include Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls), Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) and Felicity Jones (Hysteria). Emma Watson was mentioned early on but she quickly dismissed the rumours.
Shailene Woodley was also cited, but her involvement is most unlikely, as she is filming the lead role of Tris in Divergent, the latest entry in the genre of films based on best-selling young adult novels. Like The Hunger Games before it, Veronica Roth’s trilogy is about a teenage girl living in a dysfunctional future. The second book is Insurgent, and the third, Allegiant, will be released in October, so Woodley is likely to be busy for some time, assuming the first flick is a hit.
• Speaking of The Hunger Games, Julianne Moore is in talks to play Alma Coin in the final two movies, which are based on the third book, Mockingjay. Coin is the manipulative leader of District 13 who clashes with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) while trying to use her to stir up rebellion against the Capitol and Donald Sutherland’s President Snow. Fan suggestions for the icy, ambitious Coin have included Sigourney Weaver, Meryl Streep and Tilda Swinton.
• It’s almost two decades since Independence Day was released, but now director Roland Emmerich is working on not one but two sequels. Called ID Forever Part 1 and, yes, ID Forever Part 2, they will focus on present-day Earth when aliens return and a younger generation has to fight them off.
Will Smith will not be reprising his role from the 1996 original, but Jeff Goldblum, who played the computer whiz who first cracked the alien code, and Bill Pullman, who played the President, will both be back. Presumably, the White House will have been rebuilt in the intervening years. Smith, meanwhile, has a bunch of other sequels pending, including Bad Boys 3, Hancock 2 and I, Robot 2. It will be interesting to see how many of those actually happen.