Revisiting Christian Grey

It's nearly time! Gentlemen! Truss up your ladies with your favorite tie, throw her over your shoulder caveman style, and proceed to the nearest multiplex. Fifty Shades the movie is happening next week!

Allow me to be frank -- I WILL be going to see this movie and I don't care what anyone thinks. My girlfriends and I have already decided this is going to be a hilarious, wine soaked outing of epic proportions. And why the hell not? I love movies. I love books. I love sexy movies and sexy books. This is an event made for me. I may rent a limo and wear an evening gown. It's THAT spot on. 

Now, I have no delusions about any of this. While I found Fifty Shades to be a fun, diverting read the first time I powered through it a couple of years back, and even slightly more entertaining when I inhaled it for a second time last week to "bone up" for the movie (oh yes, I went there), I've always said it isn't Shakespeare, or even Rowling, or even Dan Brown for that matter. The writing is simple and straight-forward, exceptionally stream of consciousness at points, and sometimes tries way too hard to be hip. However, I always felt that if you're a human being who enjoys sex, then you should take a moment to consider this entire phenomenon (and perhaps even take notes). This is the panty drop heard around the globe people! Over a hundred million copies strong and growing every day. That's got to mean something, right? The sexual situations in this book, while mostly subversive and written for shock value, are still titillating enough for most of the female population to think of the exceptionally damaged Christian Grey as a modern day Prince Charming. What can I say? These days we like our fantasy men to be domineering, clinically insane, Alpha control freaks with mommy issues and good hair. We've come a long way, baby! Or not. Oh, who the hell knows? Maybe it's just the spanking. I'm not sure. All I do know for sure is that no matter how many shades of f-ed up Christian Grey was/is, the people swooned! And in droves.

E.L. James -- doing something right. 

Now, Jamie Dornan, the actor playing Grey on film, is a great looking guy with a smokin' hot Calvin Klein undie ready bod. No question. I'd probably consider paying money just to watch him walk around in low slung jeans and no shirt. However, he does seem to be missing that innate inner darkness that I crave -- i.e., Timothy Olyphant, Tom Hardy, Michael Fassbender (See Shame. Or Jane Eyre. Preferably both). Part of what makes these men so compelling to me is that little glint of all wrong that smacks of some deviant sexual greatness. That Jack Nicholson charisma that has nothing to do with looks and everything to do with the vibe. Rob Pattinson's Edward in Twilight, on which Christian Grey was originally based I remind you, was more intent on scowling and looking angry than actually imbuing his tortured vampire with any substance, and I think this could be attributed to lack of experience in addition to some really mediocre acting skills. He simply didn't have the maturity or gravitas to pull off the hundred year old tortured soul angle with any sort of believability. It's not really something that can be faked all that well. Then add the hard core sexual element inherent in Fifty Shades to that -- the need for this man to play one hundred percent, no holds barred dominant with a camera in his face and only a skin-colored stocking covering his naughty bits, and you're asking a whole hell of a lot of an actor. Any actor. Big job to tackle. Smacks of difficulties. A lot to swallow. Bound to be tough. (Seriously, I crack myself up.)

Although I never watched the show, I hear that Charlie Hunnan was pretty hardcore on Sons of Anarchy, and he certainly's got nothing to complain about in the hotness department either. Both women and men seem to like him equally, something that definitely could've added to any box office bottom line appeal. I'm disappointed he wasn't able to do Fifty Shades for whatever reason. The inner casting agent in me says he would've been very interesting to watch. But we don't always get what or whom we want in our book adaptations, do we? (I'm talking to YOU Tom Cruise) And that doesn't mean I won't see the movie anyway. I'll think of the book as one thing and the movie as something else entirely. I'll keep my Ultimate Gold version squirreled away in my head and take the movie at face value. And maybe, just maybe, I'll live long enough to see another re-imagining with an entirely different cast, perhaps more to my liking. Hollywood, after all, has been known to beat a dead horse or two, and even a couple of live ones. (There's nothing in the world you can say to convince me that the original Ghostbusters needs to be remade. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. But that's a different blog post for a different day.) Whether the movie tanks on February 14th or goes total blockbuster, I doubt very much that Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson are the last words on Christian and Ana. I predict that Hollywood will squeeze every last ounce of life from this thing, resurrect it, and then milk it dry all over again. Several times. With gusto!  

I actually wish someone had been smart enough to do the entire fiasco for cable. Cable has had so much success with controversial works made for discerning, mature audiences -- things  like True Blood, Game of Thrones, Sex in the City, Girls, The L Word, and Diary of a Call Girl. These shows never shied away from controversial subject matter -- hot sex, graphic violence, or crude curse words -- as a matter of fact, some of them seem to revel in it, often times all at once. (Red Wedding episode anyone?) With the right team, I think Fifty Shades the Cable Series would've done really well, heating up water cooler convos in over 52 different languages every week. I've already heard so much about what they had to leave out of the film to keep an R rating when the source material was an off the charts NC-17, probably closer to NC-27 with a side of BDSM. At the same time, the Outlander adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's best selling series of books on Showtime ADDED IN ORAL SEX just because it seemed fitting. Hell yes it seemed fitting! If you're doing it right, when does oral sex not seem fitting?  I mean, come on! In addition, they also managed one of the hottest, most sensual wedding night scenes I've ever seen on film. (Sam Heughan's ass should get its own award as far as I'm concerned). And now they have millions of viewers waiting anxiously with bated, salivating breath for the show to come back this summer. They can't make the episodes fast enough! It's that big. I have a feeling Fifty Shades the Sextacular Spectacular would've been great for this progressive, brave new world of television and my DVR would be happily full, full, full. Rewind. Replay. Repeat. Rewind. Replay. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Oh sweet mystery of life at last I found thee!

So, to Ms. James I say, a heartfelt good luck on your movie adaptation. I'm looking forward to seeing it and I know countless other people are as well (or at least will be sneaking it in late at night when it comes out On Demand and pretending they didn't). This zeitgeist is all yours! You own this guilty pleasure. And whether the movie breaks a million records or quietly drifts off into discount bin obscurity, Fifty Shades has definitely made its mark.

Mr. Grey will see you now...

Shudder. Shudder. Gulp.

I'm all in.