Director Sam Taylor-Johnson has confirmed she is quitting the Fifty Shades Of Gray franchise, and will not return to helm the two planned sequels.
Reports recently surfaced suggesting the British filmmaker was keen to cut ties with the big screen adaptations of E.L. James' popular erotic thrillers, after repeatedly clashing with the author over creative control on the first film.
On Wednesday (25Mar15), Taylor-Johnson made the split official in a statement which reads, "Directing Fifty Shades of Gray has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful. I have (studio) Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with (stars) 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."
Screenwriter Kelly Marcel, who adapted Fifty Shades of Gray, will also not return for the follow-ups.
Bosses at Universal have yet to announce a replacement for Taylor-Johnson, but Johnson and Dornan are expected to reprise their leading roles for Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.
The first installment of James' trilogy has already grossed more than $558 million at the worldwide box office following its release last month (Feb15).