And she’s out! Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson is quitting the franchise.
"Directing Fifty Shades of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful,” Taylor-Johnson told Us Weekly in a statement on Wednesday, March 25. “I have Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota [Johnson] and Jamie [Dornan]. While I will not be returning to direct the sequels, I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three."
The director’s announcement comes after she admitted it was “difficult” working with the S&M novel’s author E L James.
“I’m not going to lie,” Taylor-Johnson, 47, told Porter magazine after saying it was hard working together on the film. "We definitely fought, but they were creative fights and we would resolve them. We would have proper on-set barneys, and I'm not confrontational, but it was about finding a way between the two of us, satisfying her vision of what she'd written as well as my need to visualize this person on screen, but, you know, we got there."
"I knew how it should be made, needed to be made, and I felt a certain responsibility to make it the right way," the filmmaker continued of the R-rated flick, which eventually broke records upon its February 2015 release. "I felt it was an incredible story. It's like a dark twisted fairy tale, very romantic, and it was interesting how troubling it was, and how romance and the darkness interweaved."
Prior to announcing her exit, Taylor-Johnson spent time with the franchise’s star Jamie Dornan. “Today with Jamie. #jamiedornan,” she captioned an Instagram snap looking cheerful alongside an equally happy Dornan.