There had been a rumor (from James Franco, of all people) that Gus Van Sant might be the director of the highly anticipated adaptation of mommy porn Twilight fan fiction Fifty Shades of Grey. Now there seems to be some weight to that rumor, as both Jeff Sneider at The Wrap and Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter are reporting that Van Sant has shot test footage for the film using Magic Mike star Alex Pettyfer as lead Christian Grey.
Per Sneider, Van Sant was not "officially asked" by the studio behind the film to make the tape, but did so in an effort to show how much he wants the job. And he might just be the right man for it.
The scene Van Sant decided to shoot was, according to Sneider, the one in which the young Anastasia Steele loses her virginity to Grey. While Sneider said The Wrap couldn't nail down the identity of the actress playing opposite Pettyfer, Kit reports on Twitter that "a number of actresses" were involved, meaning that there may not be one person who took on the role of Anastasia Steele for Van Sant's cameras. Pettyfer, Sneider insists, has not been cast in the movie, just in the test tape. At 23 we think he's a little young for the 27-year-old Grey, and so do a lot of people on Twitter.
This development—if Van Sant gets the gig, no matter who he hires as the lead—would likely mean that we're going to be getting an auteur's interpretation of Fifty Shades, since Van Sant is, frankly, a better director than the source material would necessarily warrant. But it's a big adaptation of a big book, and Van Sant is a collaborator with Bret Easton Ellis, who has been a notably vocal party in the goings-on with the Fifty Shades movie. Still, for Van Sant Fifty Shades would be miles away from his last theatrical release, fracking drama Promised Land.
If Van Sant were to jump on board, perhaps Emma Watson would like to reconsider her dismissal of rumors that she had been cast:
Who here actually thinks I would do 50 Shades of Grey as a movie? Like really. For real. In real life.— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) March 17, 2013