'Fifty Shades Darker' And 'Fifty Shades Freed' To Be Filmed Simultaneously?

Although the next two films in the erotic franchise Fifty Shades of Grey are set to premiere in the coming years, there are still a number of things producers need to get in line before production can even begin. From finding a new director to casting a few pivotal characters, producers of Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed still have a lot of work to do, and not a whole lot of time.

That being said, News Everyday is reporting that both movies may be set to be filmed at the same time, which would definitely get both projects back on track. Furthermore, by filming the two movies simultaneously, Universal Pictures may be able to save some money, though considering the profits Fifty Shades of Grey brought in, it's unclear if reducing costs is a motivating factor in the production decision.

The rumors of simultaneous filming follow other reports that suggest James Foley might be directing both movies. Foley, who is known for his work on Netflix's House of Cards, is apparently in negotiations to direct the next two movies in the erotic franchise following the departure of Sam Taylor-Johnson.

According to Deadline, not only is Foley in talks with Universal about directing the films, he's also the mostly likely person to get the job. Given the fact that Foley's past projects are vastly different from what fans saw in Fifty Shades of Grey, audiences will likely get a very different end result if Foley is chosen to direct the new movies. Other directors rumored to be in the running include Rebecca Thomas (Electrick Children), Tanya Wexler (Hysteria), and Mark Pellington (Electrick Children).

In addition to a new director, the films still need to cast several main characters set to be introduced in the sequel, including James Hyde, Dr. Flynn, Leila Williams, and Elena Lincoln (Mrs. Robinson). The roles of Hyde and Mrs. Robinson are perhaps most significant, since they are to be the main antagonists in the movie.

Meanwhile, Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson are set to reprise their roles as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in the two upcoming films. E.L. James is also expected to have much more control over the movies, especially considering her husband is the primary screenplay writer.

Fifty Shades Darker is scheduled for a February 10, 2017 premiere, while Fifty Shades Freed is set to debut in February, 2018.

[Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures]