Fifty Shades of Grey may be making a shedload of money around the globe but things are looking increasingly shaky for the sequel.
Not only has it been confirmed that director Sam Taylor-Johnson won't be returning (mostly because she couldn't get on with original writer E.L. James) but now there are reports that male star Jamie Dornan could be stepping down as well.
The rumour suggests that 32 year old Dornan has been coming under pressure from his wife Amelia Warner to leave the franchise as women are starting to become obsessed with the actor. There are also reports that she was unhappy with the explicit sex scenes depicted in the film between her husband and 25 year old Dakota Johnson - with the onscreen couple sharing a kinky relationship in the blockbuster adaptation.
Firstly - these are all rumours with no official word from Dornan or his people. But, most significantly, it's clearly hogwash. It's insane to think that Warner - who is also in the acting community - wasn't made fully aware of what Dornan would be up to in the film, which is significantly less explicit than James' original book. To me, this all sounds like the opening shots in Dornan's attempt to rid himself of a franchise he clearly hates being a part of.
He has been endlessly awkward in interviews about everything to do with the film, and the fact that he has little chemisty with co-star Johnson will likely mean that Universal would be well rid of him. It's a happier situation for everyone involved and, given the fact that Johnson's the star anyway, means that going ahead with a fresh face shouldn't cause audiences much bother at all.
Of course with a planned Feb 2016 release date, they would want to get to casting asap. Any number of well-muscled youthful types would do (Dornan always seemed a bit old for the 27 year old Grey) in Universal's quest for a multi-billion dollar property.
Expect Fifty Shades Darker to be in cinemas in 2016. And Dornan won't be in it.