Playing with Fifty Shades

February 13, 2015 12:57 PM

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Playing with Fifty Shades

Sex beckons. It sells books and films, and this Valentine's Day it'll sell both. As Fifty Shades of Grey makes the leap from page to screen, the biggest question has been "how will they do the sex scenes?" In the three-book series by E. L. James, the BDSM sexploits of its lead characters are essential to their evolution, as Dominant, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), reveals his vulnerability, and submissive Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) finds her strength. The film's challenge is to fit the steamy sex into the framework of an R rating. Within the craft of adaptation lies the art of seduction. Screenwriters must tease out the best parts, luring characters to confess their secret selves on paper so a director can breathe celluloid life into them for an audience's consummation. As a screenwriter, I could not help imagining how I would adapt Fifty Shades for film. It's a game writers instinctively indulge in when reading any book, but it can be especially titillating when it comes to erotica. Wanna play?

First, some ground rules: Each scene must be consequential. If the sex is gratuitous, the relationship at its core will seem superfluous as well. Also, while Ana and Christian may have all day to play, a movie lasts only two hours. Concessions to time and budget necessitate hard choices. Each tryst ...

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