Smash Pictures releases this month what is arguably the most anticipated movie in the studio’s history: “Fifty Shades of Grey: A XXX Adaptation.” A send-up of E.L. James’ bestselling book trilogy, about a young billionaire’s sexual ownership over an inexperienced college coed, the X-rated re-imagining has already garnered national media buzz and is poised to be both a chart-topper and an award contender.
XBIZ spoke with producer Stuart Wall and director Jim Powers about the books, parodying such a hot property and why it’s OK for moms to get off to porn.
We re-imagined all the aspects that appealed to women in the book with an adult twist. -Stuart Wall
XBIZ: Why do women love “Fifty Shades?”
Stuart Wall: Women are drawn to this book because it doesn’t have a rating connected to it. When you label something, it becomes taboo. If this book was behind a shelf with a white sleeve on it like a porno mag, women wouldn’t read it. This is why women enjoy reading romance novels … because it’s not looked down upon. “Fifty Shades” just took it a little further, incorporating bondage and sex into women’s fantasy.
Jim Powers: Women like reading the book because it’s non-stop sex. Christian is gorgeous and rich, and it’s a modern Cinderella story in which Anastasia is rewarded handsomely for being a naughty whore. Who wouldn’t want that?
XBIZ:How did you approach the parody so that it would appeal to women while not losing your male audience?
Stuart Wall: We re-imagined all the aspects that appealed to women in the book with an adult twist. Our sex is soft, yet strong, so not to turn off any viewers.
Jim Powers: I stayed faithful to the core material. The books are written from her point of view and constantly show her thoughts front and center. I took that approach.
XBIZ:What scene(s) were you looking forward to reimagining in the adaptation?
Stuart Wall: I’m excited to see Anastasia walking around with the Ben-Wa balls inside her during Christian Grey’s domination of her. It will be interesting to see Christian’s pet peeves in the film too … like when he draws out the spots on his body she’s only allowed to touch.
Jim Powers: My favorite is when Christian has to rectify her virginity problem. I also love it when he gives her the contract of the rules of a submissive. Every relationship should have those types of rules. They avoid problems later; better than a pre-nup.
XBIZ: Why adapt all three books at once instead of capitalizing on their popularity and releasing three separate movies?
Stuart Wall: We were going to start with Volume Two because another studio had announced they were doing Part One. But, they didn’t make it clear that their version was animated. If we had known that, we would have started with Volume One and shot all three separately.
Jim Powers: I was handed Book Two and told to read it and make that one. Book Two is terrible compared to Book One and doesn’t have much of a story. Not knowing how much was in Book One, I said we might as well do all three books at once so we would have a story. Obviously, we bit off a lot. To be able to pull it off in a porn budget/timeframe, I took the main elements of the first book — by far the best — and utilized the most interesting character from the second: his insane ex-sub. Also the masquerade ball is from the second one, as well as the dance auction. I made a stand-alone movie, avoiding the hanging endings of the first two books but not going so far as to have her live happily ever after like in the third installment.