Universal Pictures has just added its first new cast member for the highly-anticipated Fifty Shades of Grey sequel Fifty Shades Darker. Variety reports that Kim Basinger has signed on for the key role of Elena Lincoln, joining Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. Production is slated to begin this spring, with a report from November revealing that both this follow-up and the third adaptation, Fifty Shades Freed, will be shot back-to-back.
The Elena Lincoln character was mentioned in last year's blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey, which sets up the reveal in this sequel. In the E.L. James novels, Elena Lincoln is Christian Grey's (Jamie Dornan) business partner and former lover. While the studio does plan on shooting both sequels back to back, it isn't quite clear when production will begin, but Universal has set a February 10, 2017 release date. It isn't known what other characters have yet to be cast.
The report also reveals that original Fifty Shades of Grey stars Luke Grimes, Eloise Mumford and Max Martini will also reprise their roles alongside Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. Luke Grimes plays Elliot Grey, Christian's brother, with Eloise Mumford portraying Anastasia Steele's (Eloise Mumford) college roommate Kate and Max Martini playing Christian Grey's driver Taylor. Last year's Fifty Shades of Grey earned $166.1 million domestically and $404.8 million internationally for a worldwide tally of $571 million, from a $40 million budget.
James Foley (House of Cards) is directing from a script by E.L. James' husband, Niall Leonard. Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti will return to produce along with author E.L. James. The author recently released a new Fifty Shades book, told from Christian Grey's point of view, but no movie adaptation is being planned yet.
Kim Basinger won an Oscar for her supporting performance in L.A. Confidential. She most recently starred in Grudge Match and last year's The 11th Hour. She will next be seen in The Nice Guys, alongside her L.A. Confidential co-star Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, which hits theaters May 20. What do you think about this casting news for Fifty Shades Darker?