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Fifty Shades Darker: James Foley frontrunner to direct

The ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ director, who most recently helmed ‘House of Cards,’ is the likely choice for the job

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James Foley hasn’t directed a feature film since 2007, but that will all change as the 61-year old man begins negotiations to take the helm of Fifty Shades Darker, the second installment in the Fifty Shades juggernaut. According to two sources close to the project, Foley, who most recently directed 12 episodes of Netflix’s House of Cards, is the frontrunner for the job, though no deals have yet been struck. 

Foley’s addition to the Fifty Shades family comes after the trilogy’s original director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, bowed out of the franchise in March after directing the first film. Since then, E.L. James’ husband, Niall Leonard, has come aboard to write the script for the sequel, which Universal Pictures announced will open in February 2017. 

Foley’s most recent theatrical credit is for Haley Berry and Bruce Willis thriller Perfect Stranger, but the New York-born director is probably best known for the 1992 David Mamet adaptation Glengarry Glen Ross (the film landed Al Pacino an Oscar nomination in the supporting actor category). Foley also directed the Mark Wahlberg film Fear

There is also speculation that Foley will likely direct not one Fifty Shades film but two, filming both back-to-back in order to meet Universal’s release dates, which has Fifty Shades Freed scheduled for February 2018. 

Foley’s experience in the thriller genre is likely piqued the interest with the trilogy’s producers. Fifty Shades Darker, while still dominated by the sexual relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, also features elements of suspense. Ana is stalked by Christian’s ex-lover in the book, and also has to contend with a harassing boss.

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