Gus Van Sant—whose fascination with emptiness has manifested itself in everything from those long, arid stretches of Gerry, to his uninspired remake of Psycho, to working with Taylor Lautner—has now set his sights on the equally barren Fifty Shades Of Grey, the novel that is to literature and romance what the subjects of Elephant are to high schools. And to land his dream job of tackling this Holy Grail of emotional blankness, Van Sant reportedly “shot a steamy sex scene” from the book unsolicited, casting the appropriately vacuous Alex Pettyfer as billionaire Christian Grey, and having him and an unknown actress act out the moment where sort-of-heroine Anastasia Steele loses her virginity, announcing her blossoming into womanhood with an erotic “Aargh!”
Neither Van Sant nor Pettyfer are officially involved with the adaptation, of course—though possibly in their favor, the film is being produced through Focus Features, which previously teamed with Van Sant on Milk and Promised Land, and Universal, which just hired Pettyfer for its remake of Endless Love. Still, The Wrap suggests that Van Sant being in the running “confirms the producers' intentions to hire a high-class filmmaker to deliver a tasteful adaption” of the Twilight fan-fiction porn where a man pulls out a woman’s tampon and inserts anal beads.
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