In honour of Fifty Shades Freed coming out, here are some facts about Fifty Shades Of Grey.
As compiled by someone with a rather zesty opinion about it.
Go through these to get a closer and deeper look into it.
1. Everyone’s “favourite” erotic novel started as Twilight fanfiction. Author E.L James told ABC in 2012 that Twilight “just kind of flipped this switch in my head,” inspiring her to write several novel-length fanfiction pieces.
2. Originally, the pieces were posted on Fanfiction.net under the nom de plume “Snowqueen’s Icedragon.” This wouldn’t be the author’s last time writing under an assumed name; while she publishes under “E.L. James,” her real name is Erika Mitchell.
3. But James’ take on the Twilight novels was too spicy for the internet. After some readers protested, she had to take them down, which spurred her decision to make them into a book. Thanks ever so much, internet.
4. The book was originally self-published as an ebook before publishing rights were acquired by Vintage Books in March 2012.
5. By June 2015, the book had sold over 125 million copies worldwide, and had been elevated to the status of the fastest-selling paperback in the UK.
6. The book has led to some very interesting hospital visits. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there was a 50% increase in people visiting the hospital because of toy-related injuries between 2010 (the year before the book was published) and 2013 (the year after the book was published).
7. In a 2012 interview, E.L. James said that songs by the Black Eyed Peas and Bruce Springsteen form a large chunk of her sex-writing playlist.
8. Also, apparently, she has a sex-writing playlist.
9. “‘Argh!’ I cry as I feel a weird pinching sensation deep inside me as he rips through my virginity,” is a real sentence in the first book. Like, was written out and published in 52 different languages for the human eye to see.
10. The first Fifty Shades movie won five awards at the 36th Golden Raspberry Awards, an award show specifically dedicated to recognizing the worst in film. Well, if the shoe fits.
11. Paying homage to the movie’s fanfiction roots, James originally wanted Robert Pattinson to play the elusive Mr. Grey.
12. Mr. Jamie Dornan, the actor who eventually ended up playing Christian Grey, visited a sex dungeon as research for his role. No, really. As he told GQ magazine, he sat there “with a lukewarm beer while a dominant had some fun with his submissive.” According to Dornan, it was very “playful and jovial.”
14. He also said, in the same interview with GQ, “I think plane spotting is far weirder than S&M…I can understand why people are into S&M, but standing outside Heathrow Terminal 5 waiting for Ryanair to come in?”
15. Before the release of the first movie, hardware company B&Q circulated a “secret” memo asking staff members to read the book or watch the movie in preparation for “sensitive” customer questions about equipment for use in BDSM scenes.
16. According to the UK media outlet The Mirror, 44% of women surveyed preferred reading “Fifty Shades” to having sex.
17. There is a scene in the upcoming movie where ice cream is involved in fun-time having. And Jamie Dornan absolutely doesn’t recommend doing it at home. “I think it was…quite sticky,” he told Cosmopolitan. ‘It gets dry and sticky quite quickly…I wasn’t a fan of it.’”
18. In perhaps the worst news of my week, Smash Pictures apparently attempted to make a “pornographic parody” of the novel back in 2012. If your eyes haven’t fallen out already, please know that it was going to be called “Fifty Shades of Grey: A XXX Adaptation.”
19. Perhaps in light of that, E. L. James was listed as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2012.
20. During the auditions, as a test to see whether they could handle the material, the actresses testing for the role of Anastasia Steele had to read a sexually-explicit monologue. In an interview with Cosmo, Chloe Bridges said, “The scene was, like, the girl telling her friends about some sexcapade she had,” Bridges said. “But it goes into extreme detail and uses the word ‘sperm’ a couple of times. I was like, ‘I don’t know, guys, I have to go home to my grandparents’ house in a few months at Christmas; I don’t know if I can do this.’”
21. During the filming of the second installment, the crew discovered a spy on the set. She snuck on by pretending to be a PA, but on having a conversation with her, Director James Foley discovered that she was employed by, get this, a fan on Twitter.
22. Sales of Ben Wa balls went up by 400% after James included them in the first Fifty Shades book. For those who are unaware of what Ben Wa balls are, the product description on Amazon says that they help you “celebrate your inner goddess” when you “introduce the balls into your body” (a phrase I never thought I’d be typing).
23. A very important line from the first book: “His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel…or something.”
24. Mr. Dornan had some difficulties perfecting his American accent, so Dakota Johnson (who plays Anastasia) helped him with it. As a parting gift, she later got him a t-shirt with one of his lines printed out phonetically on it!
25. James had never visited Seattle or Portland, two of the cities predominantly featured in the books, so she used Google Street View to get an idea of what it’s like on the ground.
26. If you’re looking for who to thank (or blame) for the book blowing up, look no further than your fellow netizens. One of the remarkable things about Fifty Shades’ popularity is that it was spread largely by word of mouth, especially through book review blogs.
27. Anastasia’s wedding dress in the new movie was made by bridal and eveningwear specialist Monique Lhuillier, who also crafted wedding dresses for Carrie Underwood, Reese Witherspoon, Lauren Conrad, Britney Spears, and Pink.
28. The renowned author Salman Rushdie is not a fan of the first Fifty Shades book. He once said, of it, “I’ve never read anything so badly written that got published. It made Twilight look like War and Peace.” No word on what he thinks of the second and third books.
29. Another zesty line from the novelization: “I eye Christian’s toothbrush. It would be like having him in my mouth. Hmm…” Hmm, indeed!
30. For those wanting a glimpse of Mr. Dornan’s pleasure carrot, you won’t be getting it. When asked about the intimate scenes in an interview with GQ, he said, “Your dignity’s intact as much as it’s all tucked away in a little flesh-coloured bag…you tie it up like a little bag of grapes.”
31. The same is true of Ms. Johnson, who wears a patch over her fancy bits.
32. For anyone out there who’s even remotely interested (why), they edited pubic hair back on in post-production.
33. Johnson refused to use a body double for any of the movie’s nude scenes, telling The Mirror that she wanted to “to do [the role] 100 percent and give it everything” and that she didn’t “have a problem with nudity.”
35. The UK’s Damson Dene Hotel famously replaced all their top-drawer bibles with copies of Fifty Shades of Grey, as the owner thought it was “wholly inappropriate” to have religious books in people’s rooms.
36. He told NBC that he was initially going to replace it with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, before deciding on Fifty Shades. In Fifty Shades’ defence, he really made a good choice there.
37. For those of you who really, really want to find out what Mr. Grey is all about, there’s an accompanying book of Fifty Shades of Grey from his perspective, imaginatively titled Grey.
38. If you haven’t read it, you’re missing gems like “In my closet, I strip off all my clothes and from a drawer pull out my favourite jeans. My DJs. Dom jeans.”
39. Not all was well in Grey-land during the production of the first movie. Apparently, James and the original director, Sam Taylor-Johnson had “creative differences,” which lead to Taylor-Johnson not coming back for the second movie.
40. One of these differences was the climactic scene at the end: Taylor-Johnson wanted Anastasia to say “Red,” in reference to her “safe word” from earlier in the story, whereas James wanted her to say “Stop.” In the final cut, they went with James’ decision.
41. Perhaps because of frustrations over creative control, E.L. James’s husband, Niall Leonard, wrote the screenplays for the following two movies.
42. Forbes wrote up a list of the fifteen richest fictional characters and estimated their wealth. They clocked Christian Grey at a cool 2.2 billion.
43. The movie’s film crew got really tied up in the details of the sex scenes. They actually brought in “BDSM consultants” (what a fantastic job title) to ensure that Mr. Grey’s “Red Room of Pain” was constructed accurately.
44. But while the physical set got the BDSM stamp of approval, the way the movie depicted the core relationship did not. Frustrated BDSM practitioners wrote op-eds about why the relationship depicted wasn’t proper BDSM. ‘He is constantly crossing boundaries,’ Lady Velvet Steel said, in a piece for the Hollywood Reporter. ‘And S&M is all about respecting boundaries.’
45. According to Mr. Dornan, his wife Amelia Warner has never seen the films; as he told Entertainment Tonight, “Why would she see it?” However, she was spotted onset, relaxing in the surf with Ms. Johnson.
46. Ms. Johnson held onto a flogger from the set of the first movie. Not only that, but when she mentioned it on the red carpet for the 2015 Oscars, interviewer Giuliana Rancic decided to look it up and start into the Google definition, live, on-air.
47. A line from the book: “He’s said such loving things today…But how long will he want to do this without wanting to beat the crap out of me.”
48. “No,” I protest, trying to kick him off. He stops. “If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you,” is yet another line from the book. About a romantic lead. Who is meant to be romantic?
49. A 2013 analysis of the first Fifty Shades book published in the Journal of Women’s Health, using the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of intimate partner violence, found that Christian’s relationship with Anastasia ticked all the boxes.
50. For the same price as a ticket to Fifty Shades Freed, you could buy a ticket to Black Panther.