Logo for Fifty Shades Darker on DStv

Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, Kim Basinger

It’s safe to say that anticipation for the film version of EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey produced seismic cinema waves after the novel brought S&M into the mainstream and sold tens of millions of copies in multiple languages. With 114 million views of its trailer within the first 24 hours after it debuted online – then, an all-time record, until it was surpassed by trailer views for Beauty and the Beast - sequel Fifty Shades Darker was as hotly anticipated.


In the first film, girl-next-door college student Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) was swept off her feet by billionaire entrepreneur Christian (Jamie Dornan). He introduced her to the world of S&M and convinced her to sign a contract to be his submissive, but after a particularly heavy session under his whip, she left him.


Fifty Shades Darker picks up with Anastasia having graduated and, on securing a job at a publishing house, she receives a congratulatory present from Christian, which she can’t bring herself to throw away. He continues to try to woo her once more, but she puts her foot down and demands a different arrangement before she’ll trust him again.


Christian, having been suffering from nightmares about his abusive childhood, gives in to her terms to get her back into his life – but when Anastasia meets the woman who introduced Christian to S&M, things take a turn for the worse. And this, on the back of the duo being stalked by a deranged former submissive of Christian’s. He makes inroads into a reconciliation by opening up about his crack addict mother’s suicide and the story of his adoption. When Anastasia’s boss attempts to sexually assault her at work, Christian steps in and has him fired and when he asks Anastasia to move in with him, she accepts.


From there, there’s a confrontation with the deranged former sub, a massive search and rescue operation when Christian is forced to ditch his self-piloted helicopter in a dense forest, and even a proposal. Anastasia is forced to make tough choices, Christian must cut ties with his past and a new threat looms in the shape of the mysterious Jack Hyde.


Despite much-publicised tension between writer EL James and director Sam Taylor-Johnson on the set of the first film, Fifty Shades Darker director James Foley said he appreciated her being present each day and communicating with him about script and plot points. “She had her own little producer's village and she was there every day. I really respected her for that. Like, she was looking after her baby,” he says. “I made a point, knowing that there was some friction on the first movie, of really getting to know her as best as I could before I signed on, and I got a connection with her, this lady from the UK who is very liberal, very funny, and very respectful. It suits me. There were days when I wouldn't even see her all day, and there were other days she'd come up and literally whisper in my ear, 'You know, in the book in this scene, she said this instead of that.' Maybe Dakota would change the line slightly or something like that. And so then she'd say, 'That's all I'm saying.' And then she'd go away. Sometimes she'd say something and I'd say, 'Good idea!' And sometimes I'd say, 'No I don't think that's going to work in the movie.' And she'd say, 'OK.' It was not one moment of a fight. And we're pals now."