Movie Rights to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Author’s ‘The Mister’ Land at Universal (EXCLUSIVE)

Justin Kroll

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Following the massive success of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, Universal and author E. L. James are reteaming on the scribe’s next novel as the studio has optioned the rights to “The Mister,” James’ 2019 best-selling romance.

Rights for the book, which recently hit the market, sparked a heated bidding war. James, who produced every film in the “Fifty Shades” trilogy, returns to produce this adaptation, which tells the story of a wealthy British aristocrat who falls in love with his Albanian housekeeper, unaware that she is on the run from human traffickers.

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“The Mister” was on the New York Times Best Seller list for nine weeks and has sold in 33 territories/languages internationally.

Before her elevation to chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group last year, then-chairman of Universal Pictures Donna Langley was pivotal to securing the “Fifty Shades” book series in 2012. Langley and Universal beat out almost every studio in town for the rights and helped turn the series into a billion-dollar franchise. Universal senior vice president of production Sara Scott and director of development Lexi Barta will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.

After 25 years of working in television, James decided to pursue a childhood dream and write stories that readers could take to their hearts. The result was “Fifty Shades of Grey” and its two sequels, “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed.” In 2015, she published the number one bestseller “Grey,” the story of “Fifty Shades of Grey” told from the perspective of Christian Grey, and 2017 saw the chart-topping “Darker” — the second part of the “Fifty Shades” story from Christian’s point of view. Her books have been published in 50 languages and have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide.

James has been recognized as one of Time Magazine’s “most influential people in the world” and Publishers Weekly’s “person of the year.” The “Fifty Shades of Grey” books were the three bestselling novels of the last decade. “Fifty Shades of Grey” stayed on the New York Times Best Seller list for 133 consecutive weeks. It was selected as one of the 100 most-loved books, as voted by readers, in PBS’ “The Great American Read.”

James is represented by Valerie Hoskins Associates and Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo, P.C.

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