Monday, May 26, 2014

First footage from ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ debuts at CinemaCon (March 2014)

Yahoo Movies - Well hello there, Mr. Grey.

Christian Grey, that is, known to millions of book readers as the love interest du jour of E.L. James's hit "Fifty Shades of Grey," which Universal Pictures is bringing to the big screen next Valentine's Day. As part of their CinemaCon panel Tuesday, the studio served up a veritable buffet of trailer and teaser goodness, including the first look at footage from "Grey."

The nearly two-minute teaser opens with a cityscape look at Seattle, on a day with some sunshine but mostly grey skies. A soft, slow piano solo plays in the background (which sounds like an airy and eerie cover of Beyoncé's "Haunted") as we begin with Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) recounting her first meeting with Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) to her roommate, Kate (Eloise Mumford).

"So, what was he like?" Kate asks Anastasia, which we hear in voiceover as the scene of Anastasia and Christian's first meeting plays out.

"Mr. Grey will see you now," says his assistant to the brunette as she walks into Christian's very spacious, immaculate office. The initial exchanges are full of shy glances from Anastasia and fixed gazes from Christian.

"He was really smart, intense," Anastasia says to Kate, as more of their meeting plays out on screen. He passes her a pencil with "Grey" printed on it and they touch hands briefly. "He was very courteous," she continues, as we watch Christian help her into her jacket.

"Anastasia," Christian says as she gets on the elevator.

"Christian," she responds, and the elevator doors close.

Now the lyrics to the song playing in the background kick in, with a backbeat that fittingly speeds up the action and the courtship. There are passionate embraces and kisses, extended time spent together, touching. We see Anastasia falling head-over-heels in love and into Christian's world and only realizing she might be in too deep when he slowly opens a door... into a room... (book readers will know what we mean).

"I don't know if I can be with him the way he needs me to," Anastasia says in voiceover as we catch a quick glimpse of her lying down, a look of surprise on her face.

The rest of the teaser is a slight back-and-forth between the romance and the potentially dangerous connection between the two lovers. You can feel the intensity building, enhanced by the very colorful landscape director Sam Taylor-Johnson has created. The footage feels lush, elegant, and clean, but with an element of restraint and danger.

And then there is the not-at-all-subtle smolder of Dornan as Christian Grey. He simmers onscreen. Johnson seems perfectly natural as the innocent ingenue about to embark on a road of discovery.

Their final exchange in the teaser is a solid one: "Why are you trying to change me?" Anastasia worriedly asks Christian.

"I'm not," Christian says, with emotion. "It's you that's changing me."

"Fifty Shades of Grey" opens Feb. 13, 2015.


THR - Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley ended the presentation with one of the biggest reveals -- the first footage from the highly anticipated adaptation Fifty Shades of Grey.

"Nobody outside the studio has seen a frame of footage," Langley said.

The clip showed leads Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele) and Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) meeting in Grey's office ("Mr. Grey will see you now," says the receptionist), in coffee shops and the hardware store where Anastasia works, all familiar scenes from the book.

While based on EL James' erotic novel, the film looks to be more romantic than sexual. There was a brief glimpse of Johnson wearing a black blindfold in a red room, but most of the focus was on the couple's courting.

"Hearts and flowers -- that's not who I am," says Grey at one point in the clip, which also showed a brief glimpse of him pushing Anastasia up against a wall.


The Wrap - Preview was far from NC-17

Universal Pictures revealed a surprisingly tame look at its S&M-tinged romantic drama “Fifty Shades of Grey” at CinemaCon Tuesday.

Theater owners were treated to the first look ever at the studio's adaptation of E.L. James’ kinky novel.

Bringing the book that left so many readers hot under the collar to life onscreen was a challenge, which Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley admitted was a daunting one.

When asked how you make a film of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Langley joked, “Very carefully.”

She praised a cast that includes Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan — calling them “brave, bold actors” — and promised that they have the kind of chemistry that will give viewers “the next iconic screen romance.”

As for the footage, romance was indeed the over-arching theme. There was a glimpse of a whip, a fleeting look at Johnson wearing a mask, and a confession by Dornan as Grey that “my tastes are very singular.”

The rest of the footage primarily consisted of the two attractive actors making moon-eyes at each other, in between helicopter rides and job interviews.


EW - It’s the question Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley gets asked most often: “How do you make a movie out of Fifty Shades?” Her answer: very carefully.

It’s Tuesday at the annual theater chain convention CinemaCon, and Universal Pictures concluded its lengthy slate presentation with the footage Fifty Shades fans have been waiting breathlessly to see since the studio bought the rights to the best-selling novels last year.

But rather then fill the five-minute teaser with the sex that made the books by British author E L James so popular, the studio went against expectations and highlighted the romance between the two leads: virginal college student Anastasia Steele (played by Dakota Johnson) and 28-year-old domineering billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).

The clip showcased the burgeoning romance, filling the screen with some of the iconic moments fans of the book will remember, like the first introduction in his office: Anastasia nervous and earnest; Grey, handsome and aloof. Grey’s surprise appearance at the hardware store and his helicopter also make an appearance. Plus audiences were given a sense of the Grey psyche with Dornan uttering, “Hearts and flowers: That’s not who I am.”

But with the exception of a brief blindfold, a hand on a thigh and a glimpse of a riding crop, Mr. Grey’s penchant for domineering sex was kept to a minimum. (The footage did feature him opening the doors to the Red Room, but alas, there was no wide shot of his illicit den.) In fact, there was more sex featured in Universal’s footage of the Seth Rogen-Zac Efron comedy Neighbors than anything found in the Fifty Shades footage.

Rather, the emotional component to the book’s storyline was highlighted with quick appearances from Anastasia’s mom, played by Jennifer Ehle, enthusiastic that her daughter has met someone new; her roommate (Eloise Mumford) warning her not to get hurt and even the heroine protesting that Mr. Grey is trying to change her. He protests with an earnest, “It’s you who’s changing me.”

It’s clear that the studio is rolling this out as carefully — and meticulously — as possible. It’s just unclear whether playing up the romance in the early footage is the way to get theater owners interested in the property.

Time will tell.


Access Hollywood - Hold on to your knickers, ladies. Universal unveiled fresh footage from “Fifty Shades of Grey” to the lucky attendees at CinemaCon.

The studio whipped out a nearly three-minute look at the film, starring Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey, at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

According to an Access Hollywood producer who watched the teaser, Jamie “looks amazing,” dressed in both a suit and the infamous cable knit sweater from E.L. James’ book.

“The chemistry between him and Dakota Johnson did not disappoint,” according to our producer on the scene.

Universal got tongues wagging, showing one “very sexy” kissing scene, as well as a brief look at the red room of pain, “complete with whips and floggers,” our producer reported back.

Fans in the room left very excited for Valentine’s Day 2015 – the film’s release date.


HitFix - Universal Pictures ended its presentation to the world's theater owners at the 2014 CinemaCon convention Tuesday morning with an expected "surprise": the first footage from "50 Shades of Grey."

In case you have missed the pop culture phenomenon, E.L. James blockbuster novel is most notorious for the sexcapades and submissive/dominant relationship between super rich Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and literature student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson). That's hard to sell in an extended trailer for all audiences, let alone traditionally conservative theater owners.  Instead, the preview focused on Anastasia meeting Christian for the first time, how he immediately knocks her off her feet (the insinuation is that no man has ever had this effect on her) and the "conflict."  That "conflict" was pinpointed in the last scene shown.  Anastasia effectively says "you're trying to turn me into something I'm not" (paraphrasing) and his reply, "No, no I'm not" (again, paraphrasing).

A majority of the preview finds Grey wining and dining Anastasia with a helicopter ride, a fancy new dress and - surprise - a secret room he wants to show her. As for what everyone wants to know about - the sex - at one point we see a ghost image of Anastasia with what can only be described as a horse hair soft whip being brushed across her face.  That's it. Anyone who thinks they will get more in a trailer will be very disappointed.

Universal or Focus Features (it's still unclear  which NBCUniversal division is releasing the movie officially) are clearly selling this more as a souped up "Pretty Woman" romance than bringing S&M to a mainstream audience.  You won't get a whiff of Lars Von Trier here. And, that was the most striking element of the footage. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson's independent filmmaking roots aren't evident here at all. "50 Shades" looks as glossy and slick as a Hollywood studio can make shooting a major motion picture in Seattle look like. This "50 Shades" is commercial with a capital "C" and one reason why Universal made sure it was the last thing they showed theater owners. Their message? "Don't be afraid to book this one. You won't be embarrassed and we're all going to make a lot of money together."

As for the actors, Johnson appears to play Anastasia's wide eyed perspective appropriately and certainly looks good with a reddish brown dyed hair. Jamie Doran is handsome and has that debonair thing down, but…whether the two of them have genuine chemistry remains to be seen.

Universal did not reveal when a finished version of this trailer would be released to the public, but we'd guess sometime this summer (if not sooner).


Coming Soon - Langley returned to introduce one of the presentation's biggest surprises, the first extended trailer for the movie based on E L James' first book in the best-selling romance series, Fifty Shades of Grey (February 14), stating that most of the executives at Universal haven't even seen it yet. I haven't read the book myself, but the plot seems fairly simple with Dakota Johnson's college student Anastasia Steele going to a job interview with Jamie Dornan's billionaire Christian Grey and immediately being swept off her feet as she tells her friend about the experience. She's quite smitten, so when he asks her on a dinner date and flies her in his helicopter, she's like putty in his hands. Oh, and then she finds his books about S&M and we see a couple of brief glimpses of skin. It ends with her asking him why she's changing her into something she's not, and he replies that it's "you that's changing me." (I have to admit that as a male with bouts of hopeless romanticism that line even got me!)

That trailer really gave me a good idea of why James' books are so popular and its Valentine's Day opening is going to guarantee it to have an absolutely enormous opening day gross and probably a good run at the box office as well. (Having seen Nymphomaniac Volumes I and II, I'm wondering whether Lars von Trier read the books before writing it, as there are a number of similarities, too.)


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