Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fifty Shades of Casting

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson on the cover of Entertainment Weekly 11/22/13
Photo credit: Jessica Lemmon 2013 
While I haven't purposely followed the Fifty Shades of Grey movie casting, it did manage to leak over into my field of vision (as most pop culture does). Whether you're a fan of the kinky love fanfic series or not, how can you not be mildly curious about how Universal Pictures and Focus Features are going to pull this off?

So to speak.

I've only read the first book in the series. And, not to sound like a hipster, but I read it before anyone knew what it was. True story. A friend of mine called and said, "I'm consumed with this book and have no one to talk about it with because no one has read it yet!" (Is that not the funniest thing you've ever heard of now that we know what an EXPLOSION this has been?) Then she offered to "share" it on her Kindle. Yes, it was even shareable at the time. 

I read the book in four days, a combination of what I like to call "appalled and intrigued". I'm not sure if I was intrigued because I was appalled or appalled because I was intrigued. Unlike many who complain about how "badly written" this book is, it didn't bother me in the least. I think it might now that I've been through the rigors of editing my own books, but at the time, as an unpublished reader, it didn't bug me. Also, I read it free from any hype, any preconceived notions, any input from the outside. 

Like the book's lead character, Anastasia, I, too was pure.

While I admit without any shame that I liked the book, I didn't love it. By the end of the book when [SPOILER ALERT] Ana suffers the spankings to end all spankings and leaves Christian [END SPOILER ALERT], I was as fed up as she was. He simply couldn't be redeemed for me at that point. 

I still amend this is a good read if you want to have a pulse on what EVERYONE is talking about, and I very much do. As a professional romance author, all of us in this business owe a huge thanks to E.L. James (if not Stephanie Meyer of Twilight fame who sparked James's novels) for putting romance on the map. Many, many readers have picked up this book and discovered that romance was no longer "only" for grandma and her books-by-mail subscriptions. 

On a personal note, I have Fifty Shades of Thanks to give to James. Because of her very popular novels, Tempting the Billionaire has probably gotten a bit more attention. Billionaires have become all the rage (and as you know if you read Harlequin, they always have been). While I never promised spankings and red rooms of pain, virginal heroines, or a control-freak, hair-pulling hero, readers don't seem to mind. They find my hero, Shane August refreshing. 

Love them or hate them, Fifty Shades has made a mark on our society. Will I check out the movie? You know, I probably will. Especially now that Charlie Hunnam (gratuitous Pinterest board HERE) has declined starring in the film. Thank goodness. This only so much this girl's heart can take.

Jessica Lemmon writes sassy, sexy contemporary romance with a squeeze of humor. She blogs on this site on rotation with the other Sassy Chicks. You can find out more at, LIKE her at, and tweet her in 140-character bursts on Twitter: @lemmony


  1. I think I'm going to pass on that movie. There's romance. And then there's...well, other stuff.

  2. Yeah, Erin that's another beast altogether... ;)

  3. I love this post! Thanks for sharing. I'm still undecided about watching the movie. :)

  4. Seriously? Come on, people. You KNOW you're going to watch it. Just maybe not at the theater, LOL.
    Me? Well, I went to see Magic Mike with my next door neighbor's mother. If I survived that, I can see Fifty.

  5. Thanks, Marisa! I think saying I wouldn't would be lying...I'm very curious!

  6. LOL, Teri! I'm expecting a few awkward quiet moments in the theater. O__o Maybe I'll wait for Redbox...

  7. Well, then, it's settled. We're seeing it together! But we'll be having a few drinks first to really get in the mood. :D Sorry about Charlie though..

    1. I say we meet at the bar in your basement. The beer rocks and the bartender's handsome.