15. Director Exits
Taylor-Johnson didn’t return to the franchise, at least in part due to her problems working with James—who exercised as much creative control as she could, even bringing in her husband, Niall Leonard, to write the script for the sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.
“We would have proper on-set barneys,” Taylor-Johnson recalled to Porter magazine in 2015. “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.”
She also told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015 that James “would be the first to say as well that it was not easy. It was not easy. But we got there. I think both of us felt it was an incredibly painful process.” James said in an appearance on MSNBC that “people are going to butt heads, and that is exactly what happened.”
Opening up to the Sunday Times magazine in 2017, Taylor-Johnson said she didn’t regret doing the film, per se, “because that would just finish me off. With the benefit of hindsight would I go through it again? Of course I wouldn’t. I’d be mad.”
She continued, “I like everyone, and I get really confused when they don’t like me. I was so confused by EL James. I don’t understand when I can’t navigate a person, when there’s no synergy.”