6:15 pm EDT, April 22, 2015

E.L. James’ husband penning screenplay for ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ sequel

The Fifty Shades of Grey sequel Fifty Shades Darker has found its screenwriter, and he’s got close ties to the author.

Universal has tasked E.L. James’ husband Niall Leonard to pen the the sequel’s script, according to THR. The assignment follows rumors that said the Fifty Shades author requested she write the screenplay herself. The studio supposedly balked at the idea because of James’ lack of screenwriting experience.

Leonard, on the other hand, does have experience. Besides penning his own book series titled Crusher, he’s written for two British TV shows called Air Force One Is Down and Wire in the Blood. He also did some work on the screenplay for the first Fifty Shades movie.

“Niall is an outstanding writer in his own right, with multiple established credits, and we are lucky to have him join Team Fifty,” said Fifty Shades producer Michael De Luca to THR today.

Series stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are signed on for the sequel, which has obviously yet to start filming. Sam Taylor-Johnson announced last month that she will not be returning to direct the sequel.

Fifty Shades of Grey opened in theaters over Valentine’s Day weekend and made $165 million at the domestic box office.

Since work on the screenplay is just getting started, it may be a while before we know when Fifty Shades Darker will be opening in theaters.

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According to the book’s synopsis, “Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

“But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.”

Fifty Shades Darker was published in 2012.

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