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'Anna Karenina' Director Joe Wright May Helm 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

May 10, 2013, 9:38 am GMT

The 'Hanna' filmmaker is reportedly Focus and Universal's first choice to direct the steamy novel-adapted film from the script by Kelly Marcel.

Joe Wright

"Fifty Shades of Grey" may get a start date soon after a name surfaces as the frontrunner for the helming gig. Previously serving behind the lens for 2005's "Pride & Prejudice" and 2007's "Atonement", Joe Wright is reportedly the strong contender to take charge of the movie adaptation of E.L. James' steamy novel.

Before Wright emerges as the frontrunner, Gus Van Sant was rumored eying the directing role since he prepared a test reel to be shown to Focus and Universal Pictures. The "Good Will Hunting" director filmed a steamy sex scene with the help of "Magic Mike" actor Alex Pettyfer and an anonymous actress.

Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti serve as producers for the film, of which rights were sold for $5 million. "Terra Nova" scribe Kelly Marcel is on board to pen the screenplay of the pic, which centers on the relationship between virgin Anastasia Steele and kinky billionaire Christian Grey.

Several names of stars have been linked to the project. Recently reported being in talks to play the leading man, Canadian actor Stephen Amell took to Facebook to say that no deal was sealed in the end. "Was on a flight yesterday evening back to L.A. with no movie, so I grabbed '50 Shades of Grey' and burned through it," wrote the "Arrow" star.

Emma Watson has slammed rumors that she would take the female lead role. "I haven't read the book, I haven't a read a script, nothing," she said. "There are so many movies you become attached to when I've literally never even received a phone call. I never even saw a script!"

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