Before I even turn the first page of a novel, I have to find the appropriate actor or actress to fill the part. So many screenplays are now adapted from best-selling novels, so a trip to IMDB often suffices. Why do we need those individuals in our mind’s eye? Lets be honest now, they aren’t hard to look at either.
When I first read “Fifty shades of Grey” they were still casting for the roles so I was lucky enough to have my own image remain intact. As many of you know, the book started as a fan fiction that was written for Bella and Edward from Twilight. Well that’s easy then because you just have to imagine Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson playing some emotional and physical games. Done. As soon as the trailer for the actual movie was released though, my illusions were shattered and I knew I would never see the film.
First off, I personally do not know what the big scandal is with consensual BDSM. To put it bluntly, it’s just what gets you off. Some people like to be called sweetheart, others, well, prefer something else. As long as it’s between two consenting adults, it’s none of our business. We clearly have two very public instances of when it’s not alright, like when you slap a woman on the side of her head because you’re a quasi Canadian celebrity, or when you drug women to rape them. That is not okay.
Returning to “Fifty shades” though, the casting was particularly disappointing because of the aesthetic. I don’t think I’m being particularly superficial here since film-making is built on the principle of finding representatives to tell a story; part of that is how they look and carry themselves. As soon as Jamie Dornan came on the screen I knew that he was too attractive and well, Dakota Johnson was a bit too sweet. The appeal of Robert Pattinson is that he’s slightly dirty and disheveled but can still pull off a suit better than most men because he of his edge. His history of participating in the underground London scene with all that it entails, including the substance abuse and complicated sexual pairings, somehow just is part of his physicality. Similarly with Kristen Stewart, she doesn’t look like every other girl that you went to high school with. Her features and personal style are a bit more unusual and couture. She’s different and has an infuriatingly bratty attitude that you know would attract a damaged control freak like Christian Grey.
Though the writing is obviously not going to win a Pulitzer, the novel has its own market and appeal. For all those people assuming that it’s only stifled housewives who are buying it, your thoughts are sexist and demeaning towards individuals who raised you. Their free labour is in one of the hardest and most under-appreciated sectors in society. Secondly, everyone has fantasies and it doesn’t make them a bad person. There is nothing to be ashamed of. A high-horse on the other hand is nothing to be proud of.