Fifty-Shades-of-Grey-Teaser-Poster-sliceWhile filming on the adaptation of E.L. James’ erotic literary sensation Fifty Shades of Grey draws to a close in Canada, the first cog of the Universal publicity machine has started turning. Colossal billboards of the first teaser poster have cropped up in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and, naturally, Seattle (where the book is set). In fact, the presence of Seattle’s ever-so phallic Space Needle is the only even vaguely naughty image in this very tastefully arranged one-sheet.

In fact, it’s so opaque that plenty of city-dwellers will be left scratching their heads when they look up to see it this weekend. Not so the 90 million readers who have devoured E.L. James’ book since it was published in 2011, making BDSM the need-to-know acronym of the new decade. Moreover, it became one of the very few novels about sado-masochism and bondage to generate its own classical music album.

The poster shows Jamie Dornan as millionaire bad boy Christian Grey, stood with his back to us, surveying the wide Seattle horizon from his luxurious, fashionably-sparse apartment. Above him reads the banner, ‘Mr. Grey Will See You Now.’ Not quite ‘Now’, as the release date makes quite clear: Fifty Shades of Grey will be released on Valentine’s Day 2015. As a result, next year’s obligatory Valentine’s gifts will most likely be a horse-whip and a safety-word.

The film adaptation has been drowning in fever-gossip from the start, largely on account of the most talked-about casting sessions since the first Harry Potter movie. Charlie Hunnan was initially cast as Christian Grey before dropping out and being replaced by Irish actor Jamie Durnan. Dakota Johnson (Don’s daughter from his marriage to Melanie Griffiths), unseen in the poster, will play the virginal Anastasia Steele, and it will be her first major release after this year’s carfest, Need For Speed, with Aaron Paul.

Mainstream erotic cinema has perhaps the most chequered success rate of any genre, but with acclaimed artist and director Sam Taylor-Johnson at the helm, it looks an intriguing prospect – as intriguing as this mysterious poster at any rate. The hype starts here.


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