It’s been almost a year since Fifty Shades Darker, the second film in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, was released, and fans of the sexy series are eagerly anticipating the final film, titled Fifty Shades Freed, which comes out on Valentine’s Day, 2018. For those who can’t wait to find out how the story of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele ends, here are 50 Steamy Facts about Fifty Shades of Grey!
50. Good Strategy
Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James doesn’t come from the literary establishment. She claims she started writing the books as a way to cope with a mid-life crisis. If only we could all be so productive!
49. No Comparison
According to one online poll, 44% of women asked responded that they enjoyed reading the Fifty Shades series more than actually having sex!
48. Worldwide Phenomenon
The Fifty Shades series has been translated into 50 different languages; in 2012, James was the top-selling author in the world.
47. Key Demographics
The buyers and readers of Fifty Shades Of Grey are an identifiable group: they are predominantly middle-aged women.
46. Don’t Knock It
Despite being scorned in literary circles, the Fifty Shades series is getting some attention from academics. Debby Herbenick, a sex educator and research scientist at the Indiana University School of Public Health, says, “Fifty Shades is getting a lot of people thinking and talking more openly about sex, sexuality, desire and interest. It's helping many women to feel comfortable enjoying something about sexual fantasy and arousal.”
45. Getting In the Mood
How does E.L. James get in the right headspace to write those sexy sequences? The same way most of us get in the mood, by listening to some sexy tunes! James says she listens to songs like Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” Sinatra’s “Witchcraft,” and Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire.”
Sales of “love beads”—also known as Ben Wa balls—increased 400% after Anastasia Steele enjoyed their effects in the book.
43. What’s In A Name?
E.L. James is a pseudonum, or nom de plum; the author’s real name is Erika Mitchell. Before adopting her current moniker, she wrote under the name Snowqueen’s Icedragon.
42. Growth Industries
The popularity of the books lead to some growth in other industries as well… namely duct tape, rope, and cable ties. B&Q, a UK-based hardware store, instructed its staff to read the book to get informed… and to expect an increase in non-handy customers asking for select items that might be used in the bedroom. Business Insider reported that New York hardware stores were being inundated with requests for “soft cotton rope.”
One Direction star Harry Styles is apparently a fan of the book. He told reporters he reads the books to pick up bedroom tips!
40. It’s Official!
With fans like Harry Styles and an effect on rope sales, it’s no wonder that Time magazine selected James as one of their “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
39. Fantasy Land
The Fifty Shades series is set in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon, cities that James has never visited! James says she uses Google Street View to help her picture what the city is like on the ground.
38. Fan Fiction
The first book in the Fifty Shades series was initially a bit different. The book started out as a piece of Twilight fan-fiction, and it was published online. The characters of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey are based on Edward and Bella, but the book was reworked into its own original piece.
37. Not A Fan
Given that Fifty Shades started out as Twilight fanfic, it's a bit unfortunate that Twilight author Stephanie Meyer does not count herself as a fan. Meyer is a devout Mormon, so it makes sense that the Fifty Shades books might be a bit… racy for her tastes.
36. Is It A Compliment?
James’s books have been called “Mommy Porn” and “Twilight for Adults.” Given the origins of Fifty Shades, this may technically be correct, but we’re guessing Stephanie Meyer doesn’t exactly think it’s a compliment.
35. Professional Rivalry?
Another author who doesn’t count herself among the Fifty Shades fans is fellow runaway success J.K. Rowling. Rowling, like James, was not a professional author before penning the Harry Potter series, which became instantly popular when the first book was published in 1997. Both are British women in middle age who were considered literary outsiders until their novels blew up in popularity. Rowling has stated that she will never read the books.
34. Runaway Success
The Fifty Shades novels have sold a combined 125 million copies worldwide! That includes 35 million copies in the USA. The trilogy set the record in the United Kingdom for fastest selling paperback of all time, dethroning The Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter.
33. Bigger Than Jesus?
The Bible is officially the best-selling book in the world, but Fifty Shades may be giving it a run for its money. The owner of the Damson Dene Hotel in Crosthwaite, UK, for one, is convinced: they’ve replaced all the bibles in their hotel rooms with copies of Fifty Shades of Grey.
32. Oprah’s Book Club
While Fifty Shades didn’t make the cut for the Oprah’s official Book Club, Oprah has gone on record saying she’s a fan of the trilogy. She said, “I have downloaded all the Fifty Shades of Grey novels and for the first time I can take some guilty pleasure and just read. But I’m thinking, stop with the story, get to the juicy part.”
31. Word of Blog
The blockbuster success of Fifty Shades of Grey is remarkable because of the lack of marketing budget. The series was originally picked up to be released only as e-books by an Australian publisher, but buzz began growing on book review blogs. The success of Fifty Shades of Grey is thanks almost entirely to word of mouth!
Even before the movies were made, Fifty Shades of Grey became a marketing marvel, inspiring a number of official and unofficial products. Now you can read your books while sipping on branded wine (red is called “Red Satin,” the white is “White Silk”) or Innis & Gunn’s “Fifty Shades of Green” beer. If you're hungry, why not whip something up from the cookbooks Fifty Shades of Kale or Fifty Shades of Gravy? There are even onesies for babies reading “9 months ago, Mommy read Fifty Shades of Grey”!
29. Could It Get Any Hotter?
A UK-based anti-domestic abuse charity wasn’t too happy about a series of books glorifying BDSM, though the books do deal with the issue of consent. They complained that their funding was being cut while libraries were spending their funds on copies of the book. They held a book burning where copies of Fifty Shades could be thrown on a bonfire.
28. Mixed Reviews
When the Fifty Shades of Grey film came out, critics had a lot to say. Some criticized the plot and the dialogue, while hard-core fans of the series felt it was, well, not hard-core enough. USA Today’s critic Claudia Puig wrote, “Those looking for hot, kinky sex will be disappointed. Fewer than 15 of the movie's 125 minutes feature sex scenes.”
27. Banned Books
Several libraries in the USA banned the Fifty Shades series from their shelves, citing that the books were too graphic and “against guidelines.” Don’t they know that something becomes even sexier when it’s forbidden?
26. A Lucrative Deal
The movie rights to the Fifty Shades trilogy were bought for a reported £3 million by Universal/Focus. That’s £60,000 for each of the 50 shades!
Johnson kept one of the props from the set of Fifty Shades of Grey: a flogger. She told Ryan Seacrest about it on the Oscar red carpet in 2015, leaving TV host Giuliana Rancic to explain to the public what exactly a flogger is!
24. The Real Deal
Actress Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele, has stated that she’ll never use a body double for the sex scenes in the Fifty Shades trilogy. She told The Mirror, “If I was going to do this job, I was going to do it 100 per cent and give it everything. I wanted to be true and honest to the role, and the character. I don’t have a problem with nudity. I think it is beautiful and so I was OK with that.”
23. Maybe Not All Of It…
Johnson did admit to calling in a butt double for some of the heavy spanking scenes. In addition, she wore a patch over her own privates. The pubic hair seen in the film was added back in during post-production.
22. Hollywood Lineage
Johnson may be a newcomer, but she is no stranger to stardom; she comes from a line of sexpot starlets! Her grandmother is Tippi Hedren, who starred in The Birds and was one of Hitchcock’s “icy blondes.” Her mother is none other than Melanie Griffith, who played a porn star in Brian de Palma’s Body Double.
21. Walk the Walk
Christian Grey actor Jamie Dornan had to practice walking a new walk during filming of the Fifty Shades movie. The actor is used to walking on his tip-toes.
20. Seeing It Up Close
Dornan reportedly visited a sex dungeon in preparation for shooting the film. He told British GQ that the environment was "very playful and jovial and not at all dark and serious."
19. New Skills
Dornan had to practice some of the moves he’d be using on-camera in Fifty Shades of Grey. He had to get familiar with using a whip, something he’d not had experience with before. Presumably long after Dornan had gotten the hang of it, he quipped, “it’s a bit like fly-fishing.”
18. What A Wardrobe!
Dornan also told GQ what his wardrobe was like during filming of the sex scenes, or rather, how he kept his manhood away from prying cameras: “As a guy you put all your essentials in a little bag and you tie it up like a little bag of grapes and it's tucked away.” Movie magic!
17. Prop Department
The sex toys and accessories used in the film were mostly real, but some were modified with softer leather or rabbit fur to avoid hurting Johnson or leaving a mark—some scenes had to be filmed multiple times from multiple angles, so keeping Johnson comfortable and mark-free was necessary to the process!
16. Natural Co-ordination
Some of the bondage sequences in the film were choreographed, but as for the sex scenes, the director felt it was best to leave it natural. Intimate movements were left up to the actors as they interpreted their characters. Stunt coordinator Melissa Stubbs told Esquire, ”My job is not how to tell Jamie how to move sexually," she said. "It's his decision and a private one."
15. Establishing a Rapport
Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson smartly left shooting the sex scenes til the very end: she wanted to give Johnson and Dornan the most time possible to get comfortable with each other, so their on-screen chemistry would really sizzle.
14. Other Options
Ryan Gosling was reportedly offered the role of Christian Grey, but he turned it down. We think Dornan was a great pick: Dornan began his career as an underwear model, and he was famously nicknamed “The Golden Torso” by the New York Times in 2006.
13. Sexy Money
Forbes occasionally keeps a tally of the net worth of fictional characters (as they do with some real-life businessmen). They assessed Christian Grey’s net worth at a whopping $2.2 billion! His claim as to how he got so rich? Extremely binding employee contracts. His quote: “I like to tie down my best employees.” We get the double-entendre.
12. No Expense Spared
Being a multibillionaire businessman, Christian Grey’s apartment is filled with beautiful, expensive toys. Bloomberg took a tally of some of his pricey possessions seen in the film: some of the highlights include a $7,200 Omega watch, $100 Zimmerli boxer shorts, and a $270,000 Fazioli grand piano. One of Christian's less expensive Audis is $75K, and he lives in an apartment (i.e. the filming location) that sold for $6.2 million in 2013. The copy of Tess of the D’Urbervilles that Christian gives to Ana would have fetched a reported $14,000!
11. No Need
Dornan’s wife, Amelia Warner, has never seen the first film, or so he claims. He told Entertainment Tonight, “Why would she see it?” Good point, considering she gets to see that Golden Torso up close and in person. On the other hand, maybe she read the books?
10. No Stranger
She may not have seen the first film, but Amelia Warner was spotted on the set of Fifty Shades Darker. The couple were spotted being friendly and swimming with Dakota Johnson between takes, proving Warner isn’t the jealous type.
9. A True Gentleman
Dornan says that on sex scene filming days, as soon as the camera stopped rolling, he was the first one to rush to Johnson’s aide to cover her up if she was naked (as she was often tied up). He told the TODAY show, "I’m not just going to leave her lying there so exposed." Chivalry isn’t dead after all!
8. Crazy In Love
Beyoncé re-recorded a stripped-down version of her hit song “Crazy In Love” for the ending credits of the first film, 10 years after the original was released.
7. Kardashian Stamp of Approval
Kim Kardashian was an early evangelist for the first film, having nabbed an advance promotional copy to watch. She tweeted a rave review: "Girls night watching a private screening of Fifty Shades of Grey!!!!!! OMG it's sooooo good!!!!!”
6. Husband & Wife Team
E.L. James has the support of her hubby: while she wrote the novels herself, her other half, Niall Leonard, wrote the screenplay for Fifty Shades Darker!
5. Learning To Drawl
Texas-born Dakota Johnson helped the Belfast-raised Dornan swap his Irish brogue for an American accent. In addition to working with a dialect coach, she would read his lines aloud for him, and also bought a t-shirt with phonetic spelling of one of his lines!
4. Social Media Presence
As a promotional stunt, the characters of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele were set up with Twitter accounts, where they have a combined 325,000 followers. In real life, Johnson doesn’t have any social media: she eschews Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
3. True To Life
The Fifty Shades film series wants to please fans and BDSM kinksters alike, so they pay attention to detail. Building the set for Christian Grey’s “Red Room of Pain” involved bringing in BDSM advisors to make sure the film wouldn’t portray anything “the [BDSM] community would flag as wrong."
2. Sexy Success
According to Forbes Magazine, Fifty Shades of Grey is only the sixth ever R-Rated film to bring in $500 million at the box office.
1. High to Low Brow
During casting for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, as a test to see if they could handle the hard-core subject matter, the actresses had to read monologues from the screenplay of Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 film Persona, which was famed for its sexual content. Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale reportedly auditioned this way but found it “too embarrassing.”