Though Sam Taylor-Johnson led Fifty Shades of Grey to more than half a billion dollars at the global box office, she will not be back to direct the second and third installments in the franchise. The director made the formal announcement in March, just a month after the movie opened in theaters, with insiders speculating the decision had to do with tension over creative differences with the books’ author, E.L. James. So who will take the helm for movie #2, Fifty Shades Darker?
According to Deadline, James Foley is the frontrunner to get the job. Though negotiations have not yet begun, he is apparently favored by Universal insiders to take on Darker, and maybe even the third installment, Fifty Shades Freed.
Foley is known for directing features like Glengarry Glen Ross and Fear, and has more recently directed a dozen episodes of House of Cards. Should he get the directing gig for Darker, he can expect to see his work in theaters on Feb. 10, 2017; Freed’s release has been set for Feb. 9, 2018.