Well, elsewhere this topic has come up, with discussion about one of the notable changes from the book to the screen. E.J. James and director Sam Taylor-Wood (going by Taylor-Johnson after marrying a 22-year-old, so I’ll call her TJ) battled over how close to keep to the books. James wanted the adaptation to more or less take the book as the screenplay. TJ has insisted that she, not James, is the one who makes movies for a living.
Well, TJ won, and the trailer itself shows a big, big, big deviation from the book.
I’m just going to tell you right now that the outside shots are so clearly not Seattle, Vancouver, or Portland, that I just want to scream. The Seattle skyline out the office windows in 0:24 is just plain wrong. The shot inside the “Heathman” at 0:53… Wow. It couldn’t be more wrong. But these are things you either need to be from the Pacific Northwest, or have visited these areas to know. Those aren’t the big change, but they do irk me.
At 1:44, we have that major deviation. In the book, this is what leads up to Ana seeing the horribly named Red Room of Pain:
Ana’s so innocent that she thought he meant a room to play on a gaming console, and was eager to see what the room was because she couldn’t imagine what he might mean. Obviously she has no idea what’s going on. Her childlike innocence and ignorance is an important part of their relationship, sadly. All she knows about sex she learns from Christian in the books, which is just as he likes it. He’s turned on by being the only source of information.
Instead of utter ignorance, in the trailer, Ana asks “Will you enlighten me?” instigating the events to follow, rather than being led into something she’s clueless about. This puts her in a position of power that she never had until the very end of the book, when she asked him to spank her and she broke up with him. While this may seem a small thing, a nitpick, but it changes the very foundation of the rest of the trilogy. She’s the leader, no longer the confused girl who thought a playroom means a place to play an XBox. It also means he explained a lot more to her beforehand, leading her to want to be “enlightened.”
On the surface, this may seem like a good change. It would be, if this was in the book. Of great concern is how many people who have not read the books who will see this movie, and then insist that the books can’t really be so bad, because she somewhat confidently asked to see the playroom. We will see more glorification of the very type of relationship that should never be seen as acceptable by people who are completely clueless about the contents of the book.
Also I am disappointed in Beyoncé for being a part of this and doing the theme song. She claims to be about empowering women. She couldn’t have read the books in their entirety. A woman who follows along because she’s too scared not to, who is so clingy that she can’t function without a man, isn’t an empowering role model.
Dakota Johnson’s father, Don Johnson, is very upset that she’s doing this role.
I hate to say it, but Fifty Shades is about to have stiff competition in the abuse-as-romance department, and you an bet I’ll rip into Anna Todd’s After. In addition to the abusive subject matter…
Classy, right? Anyway, she admits, “I never edit (besides typos), and I barely ever reread the chapter before posting because I overthink things and I feel like overediting or trying to use too many words can ruin the story.“
Oh dear. How can you edit typos when you barely ever reread your own work? Also when claiming to fix typos, you might not want to post your own interview with quite a few of them.
Like the Fifty Shades trilogy, After is also fanfiction, Fifty Shades meets the boy-band One Direction. Unlike Fifty Shades, the After trilogy uses real people rather than characters. Harry Styles has been called a womanizer by people who think the character in After bearing his name is based on who he is. Because so many people truly can’t separate a bad fanfiction from a real person, this poor young man was grilled on his sex life, cornered into admitting how many sexual partners he’s had just to get the GQ interviewer to lay off. Fans of the band are concerned his reputation will be further tarnished once the trilogy is in print and the movies (yes…) are made.
Not surprisingly, many are astounded that the best way to get a $600,000 book-advance, as Anna Todd has received. Is this the future of book-writing? Just write fanfiction, which was never intended to be used for financial gain, and wait for the big bucks to start rolling in? It sure seems that way and, to be honest, it’s literally nauseating and extremely infuriating.
Sometimes I wonder if I should rename the male lead in my Sacred Blood books to someone popular, toss in some whips and fists, and advertise it as fanfiction of my own books crossed with Twilight crossed with Fifty Shades crossed with whoever is popular with the teenagers today. After all, publishers do troll fanfiction sites, looking for popular works that have built a following on someone else’s labor, and what seems to be popular is abuse and sex….