FIFTY SHADES FREED
About The Production
No Fairy-Tale Ending:
Fifty Shades Freed Begins
Given the record-setting sales of E L James' "Fifty Shades" novels, and the
first two films' impressive global box-office take, those at the center of the
Fifty Shades' pop-culture event are more than forthcoming about their longtime
involvement, as well as how it feels to see the end of the seminal trilogy
appear on screen.
Producer Dana Brunetti begins: "As a producer of these films-bringing to life
these books that fans are just ravenous for and seeing the phenomenal success of
them-well, it's been extraordinary. It's not something that a lot of
people-whether a producer, a writer, a director, a cast or crew member-ever get
to do in their entire careers. To be able to do this with three different
movies, it's been extremely rewarding and satisfying. I'm extremely grateful to
be able to be accepted both in the 'Fifty Shades' family by Erika, but also by
the fan base, because they are very critical-the last thing any of us wanted to
do was mess up that thing that they love so much."
Signs along the way let filmmakers know that they were far from messing up,
beginning with the explosive box-office performance of the first film. When the
trailer for the second film, Fifty Shades Darker, debuted online in September
2016, in less than 24 hours, it racked up more than 114 million views,
shattering the previously set record for highest-performing full-length trailer
of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with 112 million views.
Book author and producer E L James was and is surprised by the depth of
emotion the story of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey stirred up in fans. At
one point, she was even satisfied with the story concluding with just one book.
E L James explains: "The first two books were written as one, and I'd stopped at
the wedding proposal and thought, 'This is great. I've left them in a good
place.' But I got readers urging me to write more. I remember being on holiday
and I was listening to Michael Buble's version of 'You Will Never Find Another
Love Like Mine,' over and over again. I thought, 'Hang on a minute. If I'm going
to write more, what would it be?'
"I knew the only thing I could do was to have Ana pregnant and to see
Christian's reaction, which is not great," E L James continues. "I knew that's
where I wanted the story to go. That's why I started writing the third book-to
see him absolutely terrified, furious, when she announces that she's pregnant.
He goes completely ballistic, because he's a scared child himself."
As production decided to film both installments, Darker and Freed,
simultaneously, all were in place to pick up the story of Ana and Christian
moving through the world as a married couple. Still, rather than just one
cinematic tale split into halves, the team was committed to treating each
project as a thematically and stylistically separate entity. This choice was
reinforced by the selection of James Foley as both chapters' director. The
filmmaker came armed with experience of simultaneous productions on separate
installments of the lauded cable series, House of Cards.
Foley offers that filming both chapters simultaneously offered its share of
rewards. "It wasn't as if it was doubly challenging, because the movies are
directly continuous with each other. It's always dire holding one big story in
your head. If you're filming one movie at a time, you're still doing it out of
sequence, and have to hold the whole movie in your head. This time, our movie
was just longer, but the emotional throughline was directly connected. It wasn't
like Freed starts 10 years later, where Christian and Ana are totally different
people. It starts a few months after Darker, so there is a real continuum that
made it possible to do."
Brunetti reflects, "Jamie Foley is such a great storyteller, and I feel
Darker and Freed both stand on their own as individual movies. If you haven't
seen Fifty Shades of Grey, or you don't see Fifty Shades Freed, Fifty Shades
Darker stands on its own as a movie; even though it's part of a trilogy, it
still works. Same thing with Freed. They all stand on their own as great stories
and compelling movies."
Regarding the title choice of this chapter, E L James explains, "In the third
book, Christian finally learns to let go and accept what's coming to him. I
think he's freed. And seeing the woman he loves with a child is the most healing
thing that could ever happen to him."
But the tone of Freed, overall, is far from merely a romance of the healing
kind. Screenwriter Niall Leonard, who returns to this chapter, notes: "Freed
opens with a mysterious man visiting the offices of Grey Enterprises. We realize
quickly that he's Jack Hyde and up to no good. Rather than starting with this
idyllic existence that Christian and Ana have, we're starting with the threat of
Jack. It becomes clear that everything they do in this movie is constrained by
the threat of his revenge. From the get-go, our heroes are never safe, happy or
utterly content. Christian is aware of this and doesn't tell Ana, thinking he's
protecting her. But of course, as a husband and wife, you don't always protect
somebody by keeping secrets. Eventually the truth comes out-it becomes another
hurdle for them to face together, and another issue in their constant efforts at
building trust between them."
While it may sound fated that the couple will find that fairy-tale ending,
Leonard is quick to disagree: "I would think that Erika herself might resist
this idea of destiny, because it suggests that no matter what you do, you're
going to end up at a happy place. In fact, Ana and Christian have to make a big
effort-they have to reach beyond themselves, to go way out of their comfort
zones-to find each other and create this relationship that saves them. 'Destiny'
makes it sound too easy-it's a deliberate journey, it's a struggle and a time of
great conflict. Hopefully, we won't have the sense that this was all easy,
because it isn't for the characters.
"For us, the marriage is the beginning of a new adventure, a new story, a new
series of challenges," the screenwriter continues. "It's not the be-all and
end-all. Erika was wise to make that her focal point of the start of the third
book, because it's a whole new journey for our characters."
It was crucial for E L James to start Freed where Christian and Ana have to
face up to the realities of what it is like to be married and how, when you
marry someone so quickly, things don't always go according to plan. "That puts a
bit of a question mark at the beginning," reflects the author. "That, and new
threats come into Freed. So, we're finding our beloved couple getting to know
each other and finding a way of living with each other. As someone who's been
married for a very long time, you do sort of knock the corners off each other,
as it were, in a relationship, and that's what Christian and Ana are beginning
E L James' professional and life partner, Leonard relished that mix of the
personal and the circumstantial, but also found it perhaps the most challenging
to pen. He says: "Exploring their journey within that marriage was a big
challenge and, hopefully, we did it right. I was helped by the fact that Erika,
being a very entertaining writer, put in some great stuff, like car chases and
heists and helicopter crashes. I took the liberty of moving some incidents about
from book two to book three, in order to keep the story moving quickly. Still, I
think that the third was the one that presented the greater challenge."
While one might conclude that having the series creator on set as producer
would be constraining, director Foley offers that wasn't the case. "In her role
as a producer, Erika would interject sometimes, but not very often. When she
would do it, she would do it in the most respectful way, just raising a
question, instead of making it feel like she was trying to pressure you to do
something. Because she was just raising a question, I always was open to
thinking about it. Sometimes I would agree with her, and sometimes I wouldn't,
but it was very friendly. We became good friends, which we still are."
Alongside fellow filmmakers E L James and Brunetti, returning to cap the
trilogy are producers Mike De Luca and Marcus Viscidi, who also served double
duty as unit production manager on both Darker and Freed.
Viscidi was perhaps keenest of anyone to shoot both films together, knowing
it was the most logical and creative decision. "It wasn't daunting for me; in
fact, I encouraged the studio. There was a lot of debate. I encouraged them, as
I wore one hat from the financial side, saying, 'The advantages of shooting
Darker and Freed combined is that we were able to build these incredible sets
for both movies. Why strike them, hold them for a year and then set them up
"But I had other reasons that were more important than just strictly the
financial ones," the producer continues. "For the actors and for James Foley,
for them to be able to see Darker and Freed, to read both scripts and to
understand where their characters are-starting in book two and finishing in book
three-it helped them. It made it a more fluid process, throughout the whole
filming. Even if you're going occasionally from certain Darker sets one day and
some Freed the next, it still helped tremendously."
"It's very bittersweet to watch the trilogy come full circle," reflects De
Luca. "This passion project we all began several years ago has become so much
more than any of us could have anticipated. It's not simply a labor of love to
those of us who have been tasked with shepherding Erika's brilliance to the big
screen, the cinematic version of Fifty Shades has been adopted by the tens of
millions of fans who have been there to experience Christian and Ana's journey
since the beginning. With this chapter, it's been hard for all of us to say
Mrs. Grey Will See You Now:
Johnson and Dornan Lead the Cast
When it came to working with Ana and Christian, Foley takes a moment to
reflect on the work Johnson and Dornan have put into the series. "Jamie and
Dakota have the kind of instinctual connection to their characters that actors
who are really good in their parts find. At this point, they are referencing
something that they know; they're not making believe. Somehow, Dakota plugged
into the psychology and the emotion of Ana, and Jamie relaxes even further into
the role; in Freed, you see him find Christian Grey in himself."
Producer De Luca agrees with his director, extending: "What Jamie and Dakota
have been required to do in this series is to accompany this rarified space few
performers ever encounter. Not only were they charged with bringing to life two
of the most beloved characters of the past century, they had to discover the
nuances of Christian and Ana under the relentless eye of the public. They've
handled themselves with grace, charm, compassion and levity-all while plumbing
the depths of their characters. I speak for everyone involved in the production
when I say that no two actors could have done it better."
For her third time as Anastasia Steele, Dakota Johnson dove headfirst into
Ana's challenging world and emboldened sense of self. She updates us with where
the characters are: "In Freed, there's more suspense, more of a thriller aspect,
with additional characters and more action-all of that is intertwined with the
love story. A love story that has evolved and deepened. Anastasia and Christian
are married, and Anastasia has received a promotion, raising the intensity of
both her private and professional life."
She agrees with E L James and Leonard, though, when she states: "This is an
epic love story but we do our best to keep it grounded and relatable. It's one
of those inexplicable connections between two people that is completely
undeniable. Throughout these stories, you find the protagonists faced with
situations that require one or both of them to bend their wills and adapt to
their version of love."
Jamie Dornan was likewise fascinated by the swirl of personal challenges and
dark intrigue facing the couple in Freed. He says: "Christian's reaction to Ana
being pregnant is not positive. It's the exact way that you don't want your
partner to respond when you say you're pregnant. He feels like he is in no
position to be a father. Where they are in their life and the kind of
relationship he wants to have with her, a baby's just the last thing that he
wants-it would not fit into his structure. Emotionally he feels that having had
such an awful early childhood, why-when his birth parents were so awful-why
would he be any better? That terrifies him."
Terrifying on another level is the threat Christian begins to perceive behind
the series of unfortunate events that have begun to take place. Dornan explains:
"Once he realizes that both the helicopter and the computer server were
sabotaged, he knows that Jack Hyde was involved. He knows him to be a man who
will stop at nothing to get what he wants. In that way, he is very similar to
Back again as Jack Hyde, whose obsession with Ana knows no bounds, Eric
Johnson took a different path when working on his character. He shares: "One of
the things that I looked at Jack Hyde is that he is opposite of what could
happen. There's a shared connection in the past between the two of them, and you
can see how damaged and different the outcomes can be. I read about how when
someone experiences something traumatic as a child, there's a part of you that
doesn't mature past that point-there's always that wounded child that you take
with you, unless there's massive amounts of therapy and going through it. So,
here's a guy who experienced trauma as a child and how does that manifest in his
life? That was the core of what I talked about with James Foley-there can be
this control and sophistication to Hyde, but then how he can fly off the handle
and make some poor choices.
"He wants what Christian Grey has," Johnson continues. "He wants his house.
He wants his helicopter. He wants his wife. If he can't have it, he's going to
do whatever he can to destroy it. He feels entitled to that life, so there is
nothing that he won't do, nobody that he won't hurt to get what he wants...which
is just to punish Christian for having the life that he could have had."
But even with Christian's seemingly perfect life-the sparkling surface of a
young, handsome billionaire-he is deeply flawed underneath. For Marcia Gay
Harden, portraying again Christian's mother, it is what lies underneath a
character that compels her to perform, and also, what audiences can find
relatable and watchable.
She reveals: "We've all known people who are psychologically like
Christian-they aren't able to express their needs or emotions. They're not going
to reach out or hug you back. Part of his journey is to learn to be
empathetic-to feel for someone else, to allow himself to feel and to want and to
be vulnerable... to take that mask off, literally, and be who he is. That's what I
connect to, that part of this very human story. I love that my character gets to
say to him, 'Marriages that don't make room for mistakes won't last long,' or
'Get in there and apologize and mean it. Then give her time.' With Ana,
importantly, this story lets her become a hero; she saves people. She's the
transformed sexual hero, and she's the action hero-and that's a good combo."
The threat posed by Jack Hyde reaches into every aspect of Christian's
existence, especially his family. Someone who deeply feels the threat is his
sister Mia, played by Rita Ora. She explains, "Freed for me as an actor is so
different-I get to experience the 'thriller' side of things. Being threatened by
Jack Hyde is kind of awesome, because he's scary...even though Eric is a
sweetheart in real life. I definitely feel that this film is a thriller."
Despite the fact that Jack Hyde lurks around every corner, Ana and Christian
are trying to build a semblance of a new life together. Back at her desk at
Seattle Independent Publishing-with the new title of Editor of New Fiction-Ana
has brought into the fold blogger and online author Boyce Fox, portrayed by
Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf and Supergirl). Hoechlin shares a bit about his
character: "Boyce is an author who Ana has discovered and feels he could be
instrumental in expanding the readership of Seattle Independent Press. He has a
great online following and is excited about the opportunity to work with
somebody like Ana. I see the relationship between them being something where
Boyce has always respected her notes and her opinions above a lot of others.
When they decide to work on this book together, it's an exciting time for Boyce,
and it's beneficial to Ana and her career."
Being the wife of a billionaire has its distinct advantages, but also, comes
with a series of adjustments, one being a sacrifice of personal privacy-this
comes in the form of Sawyer, a new personal bodyguard for Ana. Sawyer is played
by Brant Daugherty, an immediate fan favorite for his work on Days of Our Lives,
Army Wives and Pretty Little Liars.
Daugherty auditioned by video submission, and his efforts paid off. He says,
"The one thing James said he was looking for was that he needed somebody who
could dominate the gun and be confident with it. I played a second lieutenant
for a while on a show, so I've had a lot of experience with weapons and tactical
training. In the audition, I came out and pulled the gun, and James said that
that was the moment that got it for me. He said they saw a lot of guys for the
role, but that I showed how sure I was with the weapon.
"There isn't a lot in the books about who Sawyer is," the actor continues.
"But there's a lot written about what he does, and how he affects the characters
around him. I used that to get into his head and make what I want out of the
character. He needs a rich, internal life, even though he doesn't say a lot."
A character also in a good place is Ana's friend, Kate, again Eloise Mumford,
and her storyline finds her on her own romantic path-with Christian's brother,
Elliot (Luke Grimes, returning). Mumford catches us up with the characters:
"Kate and Elliot, their love story is continuing. It's such a fun relationship
because, unlike Ana and Christian, they don't have all of these obstacles.
They've had a pretty easy sail. Luke and I joke around, in pretty much every
single scene, Elliot and Kate are dancing."
But it's not all slow dances and romance, when a figure from Luke's past
reappears. Mumford reveals: "There is an architect, Gia Matteo, who's played by
Arielle Kebbel-Elliot had a thing with her in the past, and she reappears.
Kate's claws come up a bit, and she gets concerned about what might be
happening. But what's actually going on is much more innocent, and it gets
cleared up in the most wonderful, surprising way. It was so much fun to shoot."
For Grimes, the working relationship with Mumford was "chemistry from the
start," which was lucky for them both. He recalls, "We didn't have a lot of time
to warm up or rehearse, and the first scene we ever had together in Fifty Shades
of Grey. I literally walked in, and we started making out. Luckily, Eloise is a
wonderful girl, and we got along great from the start."
The developments within the subsequent films solidified the actors' bond.
Grimes continues: "In Fifty Shades of Grey, the flame burns between Kate and
Elliot fast. In Darker, the relationship was a little more lived in. Now, in
Freed, Elliot has grown up a bit and the relationship has progressed. He's
finally starting to realize that she is the girl he wants to spend his life
with. It's very sweet-it hits him at Christian's wedding, so it was very
important for both Erika and James Foley that we have a foreshadowing of that
just by his looking at Kate."
It was particularly poignant to Foley that our heroes become an engine for
change among their friends and family. He reflects: "There is something about
Elliot and Kate that makes Ana and Christian's relationship even more
emotional-it has a ripple effect onto other people in a positive way. When
Elliot proposes, you feel as if something is changing and developing. All of
these characters are getting older and more mature. There is a sense of movement
that is gratifying."
For the part of the unabashedly single woman in the group, Kebbel enjoyed the
showiness of her role, as well as the artifice it's concealing. She says: "Gia
Matteo is feisty. You hear about her even before you meet her, which is at
Christian and Ana's wedding-where she's flirting, having the time of her life.
The word on the street is she's very good at her job, but she dresses
slightly...inappropriately. A lot of the women don't necessarily like her. She's
incredibly bright; she's a grown-up and she's of the world. She's also a
socialite, and she definitely knows how to work a room. She and Ana have a great
meeting scene later on-ones of those types of scenes that actors relish."
E L James is quick to point out-not only of the returning cast, but also in
particular reference to the actors new to Fifty Shades: "We have an
exceptionally talented cast, who also happen to be incredibly
good-looking...because, well, why not?"
Weddings and Car Chases:
As Fifty Shades Freed follows immediately after the events of Darker, much of
the design was created and executed for the second film in the trilogy. However,
the world of Christian and Ana is far from static, and the changes that their
characters undergo are likewise reflected in their environments and looks.
Johnson observes: "At the beginning of Fifty Shades of Grey was this young girl
who never put makeup on her face and couldn't put an outfit together for the
life of her. You know, she's quite naive and not really focused on her looks. As
she moves through to Fifty Shades Freed, you have a manicured and elegant young
woman who is the boss in her professional and private life. She understands her
body and sexuality. She is forthright and confident; that all translates through
Costume designer Shay Cunliffe echoes: "The films and the worlds are
literally Darker and Freed-from the words alone they set a new tone, new palette
for the characters. When I had my first meeting with James Foley about the look
of the two films, he said, 'Well, Darker is darker, and Freed is light, summery,
freed, freedom.' We took those simple keywords and moved on from that. Ana and
Christian both have evolving lives, particularly Ana, in the two films, and that
influenced very much how I was going to design her costumes."
Set decorator CAROLYN 'CAL' LOUCKS weighs in: "This is a joyful time. Ana's
feeling much more confident in who she is-the film moves into spring, beginning
with the flashback to the wedding. So there's a lot more of what I would call
Some of the characters, however, would not be decked in bliss-namely those
charged with protecting the couple, security team members Taylor (once again
portrayed by Max Martini) and Sawyer. Cunliffe expands: "I followed the reality
of what Taylor, Sawyer and the security team are, which is appropriate and
well-dressed-but quietly so-nothing flamboyant, nothing that catches your
attention. They're all extremely handsome, buff and gym ready. So they looked
good but, in fact, they're just in good simple suits, appropriate to trailing a
billionaire businessman and his wife."
Daugherty appreciated the amount of input in the building of this character.
"Sawyer needs to be able to move, fight and protect, and he's got to have a side
piece on him all the time. Jamie is in these beautiful, sharply tailored suits
that I would love to wear, but I can't move in them the way I'm supposed to."
The performer even got to push for a beard and a not-too-coiffed head of hair:
"I didn't want him to seem too rigid. I wanted to have a bit of warmth to him.
He's not a caricature of a person."
On the larger scale side of design, production designer Nelson Coates
continued his oversight of the world in which Fifty Shades Freed takes place.
While actual location shooting would happen throughout principal photography, a
great deal of lensing took place within the walls of Vancouver area soundstages
(Canadian Motion Picture Park in nearby Burnaby, and North Shore Studios, which
housed the entirety of the penthouse). For Coates, this made a great deal of
sense: "One of the reasons that we even built a set is because having access to
locations is sometimes difficult. Also having the flexibility to fly a wall, or
to make things explode or collapse-or whatever you need for that scene-you often
can't do in a real environment. You have more control when you're building on
stage, and you get the exact look."
The more challenging side of creating functional, working spaces for living,
breathing actors and crew? "Just beyond every set, you end up having your work
station, and we have all the drawings that we've worked on back in the office,"
details Coates. "Every plan, every revision, the carpenters have to know exactly
what they're supposed to do. For instance, when they vender a piece of metal
that has to be bent, you have to show them exactly how that works. Every single
detail has to be thought out just as if we were building a real house for real
construction. There are real smoke detectors tied into alarm systems. It's a
very safe environment, and that's by design. Every single thing you see on the
screen has been meticulously planned and executed by the incredible teams we
Discussion between production designer and director zeroed in on just how the
personal spaces of Christian and Ana would change and become more tailored to
the occupants, with particular emphasis, in Freed, on what happens to spaces
over time when people have a lot of discretionary money.
For Coates, it came down to one word: change. He notes, "They change things a
lot. They may have a favorite spot where they put their newly acquired painting.
So there's always rotation. Our thinking was that the rules were open-that
Christian probably changes things a lot. He gets tired of something, he might do
a little construction, or renovation. Might pull some things out of storage, or
rotate things between the office and home. We talked a lot with Erika, and she
loved that idea, so we had fun with the choices that maybe haven't been seen in
the spaces yet."
One place that evolves a great deal from its first appearance in Darker to
later in Freed is the room that becomes Ana's office at SIP (which was once
occupied by Jack Hyde, when he was her report). Set decorator Loucks points out:
"We lightened the room, putting in pale, silver-gray sofas and a beautiful pale
concrete desk. We filled it with light, opened the windows, put fresh flowers in
every day-we put a sense of humor into it. We made it a feminine office, a total
contrast-with aquas, blues, pinks and lavenders."
As with her office space, Ana's work appearance changes as she rises in the
company. Earlier, per Cunliffe, Ana looks very much a young woman on her first
job, with shorter skirts, a small raincoat, not executive material. A few days
after her promotion, the designer states: "We go into a beautiful sheath dress.
We start dressing her like a woman who feels more executive. By the time we come
into Freed, when she's the owner of the company, we went for a much more
high-level look-a wonderful black suit, simple-yet-authoritative clothing."
Bearing in mind that the owner is also still very much a young woman, the
designer saw that the choices were entirely appropriate for a twenty-something
female, eschewing a stiffer feel for a more youthful cut.
There was definitely no fussiness in the choices made for one of the
highlights of both the book and the film-the wedding of Christian and Ana. Foley
knew it had to live up to fan's expectations and exude elegance: "It was
something to think a lot about, given that Christian is a billionaire. There was
no limit to how extravagant the wedding could be. But we also thought that it
wouldn't be either his or Anastasia's thing to have too gaudy a wedding. We
wanted that mix of something a bit intimate, but certainly luxurious with no
expense spared; we found a good balance."
Loucks scoured piles of wedding periodicals and found that a lot of the looks
that attracted her were from "really over-the-top affairs in Dubai!" Selecting a
few key pieces for inspiration, she connected with a local vendor in Vancouver
who specialized in Indian weddings. Custom-designed lanterns were executed for
the space, which was filled with silk flowers, as shooting was to take place
over three days. All of the silks were custom spray-painted, and the wisteria
trees were secured from a manufacturer in India. Ordering and shipping of
everything took a little over three months.
Cunliffe reflects on the design of Ana's wedding gown: "I had notes from
Erika right in the beginning of what mattered to her, which were the tiny
buttons down the back of the dress. I knew that I wanted an old-fashioned but
fresh approach to it, like the character of Ana herself-timeless, an eternal
quality, sensual and sweet, without being cloying. I worked a collaboration with
amazing wedding bridal gown designer, MONIQUE LHUILLIER [who also collaborated
in the design of Ana's ball gown for the masquerade in Darker]." In Los Angeles,
the designers discussed the character of Ana, and Cunliffe shared some pictures
of vintage gowns from her research folder. Also included into the mix was author
E L James' description of the dress from the novel.
Lhuillier sent back sketches and swatches to Cunliffe, and more conversations
ensued. The costumer then brought Johnson into the process, who also provided
feedback. Shay continues, "It was a true collaboration. Then, we sent it all
back to Monique, and I got back the perfect wedding dress. It was everything I
had dreamed of. It was almost an emotional moment where we tried it on the night
before the wedding-the fit on Dakota was perfect."
A high point in the lighter times of Freed is the group visit Christian
organizes in response to his new bride's complaint that she doesn't see her
friends as much in their life together. So what's a billionaire to do? Put
together a trip to the Grey lodge in Aspen (a prize Ana had bid on and won at
the masquerade charity event in Darker with money Christian had given her). When
Ana boards the private jet, she is greeted by Kate, Elliot, Mia and Jose (Victor
Standing in for the Grey Aspen house is, in fact, Canadian recording artist
Sarah McLachlan's home in Whistler, B.C.-emptied except for McLachlan's piano
and a few pieces of the singer's personal art collection. The set decorator
explains with a laugh: "I put in pieces more in keeping with the Greys'
sensibility, so there's a lot of pale cream, ultra-modern sectional sofas in
front of gorgeous stone fireplaces. The home has an amazing panoramic view of
the mountains. They're there to hike in the spring meadows, but I wanted to show
that this is a ski resort area, so I brought in furs on the ends of the
beds-again going back to practice we started in Darker of making all of the
environments full of texture, with sensual, tactile pieces. It is a luxurious,
spa-like resort area-we even have a sexy bathtub that overlooks the mountain and
we used tons of candles." The home also boasts a sumptuous bathroom with a
bathtub filled by water cascading from the room's ceiling, and breathtaking
romantic and picture-postcard views of both Whistler and Blackcomb peaks.
Another surprise Christian springs on Ana is the acquisition of what is to be
their new home-in the story, it is a somewhat unloved mansion that they spot
while sailing in the Sound. In actuality, it is the Cecil Green Park House, a
historical home belonging to the University of British Columbia. The 1912
structure was designed by architect Samuel Maclure for Edward Davis, a prominent
Canadian Pacific Railway lawyer. Given a succession of names by the owners, the
home was christened with its current moniker in honor of the husband and wife
who donated the house to the college.
The choice of building was also a further example of the production's use of
"narrative design," with everything chosen as part of storytelling. Loucks
comments: "It's an interesting point that the penthouse-and even the Red
Room-are things that this couple is moving away from. There's a new phase in
their life. Ana sees all of the potential of the house, and that it's a family
home. Christian lets her make the choices, and that appeals to him." Also, it is
in this site that the tense confrontation between Ana and Gia Matteo takes
place, and it becomes clear that Ana has come into her own with regard to her
'ownership' of her relationship with Christian.
Into every fairy tale, however, a little villainy must fall. And the Jack
Hyde that appears in Freed is different from the self-assured executive we first
meet in Darker. Design decisions included 'roughing him up' since his fall from
grace-having been imprisoned and then released on bail, he assumes a look that
blends, including adopting pieces to appear as a handyman. Cunliffe adds: "By
the end, he's degenerated; he hasn't slept for days and is very ragged-a huge
descent from his stylish opening appearance."
Clothing looks chosen for two additional new characters-author Fox and
architect Matteo-likewise explain a lot about the people inside of the garments.
Per Cunliffe: "I wanted Boyce to be different from Hyde, different from
Christian. His main piece is a suede jacket that we beat up a lot-the guy
doesn't have a lot of money, but he has a style. For Gia, Arielle was like my
own Barbie doll, and we agreed that she's a woman who knows how to work it at
every moment. We put her in extremely upscale, but very body conscious,
clothes-not at all inappropriate, because she's someone who's worldly enough to
know the right thing to wear, but definitely eye-catching."
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