Joe Wright is in talks to take the
whip reigns on the eagerly awaited big-screen adaptation of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker is being wooed heavily by Universal and Focus Features, which paid a whopping $5 million for the rights to the erotic best-selling series of novels.
While sources say the two sides are in talks, a deal has not yet been reached, though Wright's viewed as a strong contender for the job having helmed four other films for Focus: Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Hanna and most recently Anna Karenina.
Audiences for those flicks have skewed heavily female—and with its story about a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, engaging in a steamy romance with young business magnate Christian Grey and sex scenes featuring BDSM—Fifty Shades is expected to do the same when it hits theaters as early as summer 2014.
A rep for Universal declined to comment.
Wright's not the only director looking to land the gig. Indie auteur Gus Van Sant went so far as to shoot a sex scene with Magic Mike star Alex Pettyfer as part of his lobbying effort.
"Was on a flight yesterday evening back to LA with no movie, so I grabbed 50 Shades of Grey and burned through it," the Canadian actor wrote on his Facebook page. "Ummm... I hope they get the movie made, and I'm sure someone will be excellent in it. That person will not be me."
(E! and Universal Pictures are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)