Niall Leonard, the husband of Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James, will pen the screenplay for the movie adaptation of the sequel, Fifty Shades Darker.

E.L. James’ Husband Writing ‘Fifty Shades’ Sequel

Fifty Shades producer Michael De Luca confirmed Leonard’s hiring Wednesday. “Niall is an outstanding writer in his own right, with multiple established credits, and we are lucky to have him join Team Fifty,” De Luca told The Hollywood Reporter. 

Like James, Leonard is a novelist, however, he also has some experience as a screenwriter. Though he does not have any feature credits to his name, he’s penned scripts for U.K. TV shows such as Monarch of the Glen, Wire in the Blood, and Wild at Heart. It has also been said that Leonard helped out on the Fifty Shades of Grey script, but was not credited .

The news of Leonard’s hiring comes following reports that screenwriter Kelly Marcel would not be returning to pen the script for the sequel and neither would director Sam Taylor-Johnson.

“Directing Fifty Shades of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful,” Taylor-Johnson told Deadline in a statement last month. “I have Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota [Johnson] and Jamie [Dornan]. While I will not be returning to direct the sequels, I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three.”

The first Fifty Shades of Grey film earned $568.8 million worldwide. Stars Johnson and Dornan are reportedly still in contract negotiations for the sequel.

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