How long is too long?
That was the question facing the director of the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie.
How long can the viewer be expected to sit through wild sex scenes, without having to make a rush for the door?
Also, how much would the censors take, before they declared the movie, due out on Valentine's Day, soft porn?
As many of The Weekly’s readers will know, the book on which the movie was based is packed with sex. But that's a book. You read it in private.
The movie is different. Sure, some will download and watch at home, but the movie is opening across thousands of actual screens on Valentine's Day.
How much deep erotica could you stand, in a dark room with 300 other people?
Fifty Shades, the book, was a phenomenon. The first book in the three-part series was written by a British TV producer, E.L. James, who likes to describe herself as a middle-aged married mother of two, who loves a glass of Chardy.
The story was basically her fantasy, of having a mega-rich fella come and shower her with gifts and great sex.
Seems like it wasn't just E.L's fantasy: the three books in the series – Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Free - have sold 100 million copies.
Of course the film rights were also snapped up, and the YouTube trailer is now the most-watched YouTube movie trailer of all time.
To celebrate the film's release, Vanity Fair has this month published an article titled Crack That Whip, which discloses just how much bickering about sex went on, behind the scenes.
E.L chose the director. Her name is Sam Taylor-Johnson. She is 47, and her husband, Aaron Johnson, is 24. They've only been together for a few years, ever since she cast him as a young John Lennon in her first film, Nowhere Boy.
They now have two children, which she delivered on the floor of their home in London. She’s also survived cancer. Twice.
The Vanity Fair article makes plain that E.L and Sam fought the whole time on set. James saw herself as fighting on behalf of fans, who want to see all their favourite fantasies, including the one where Christian Grey removes Anastasia's tampon himself, before having sex with her.
No way was that going to happen on screen.
Sam says: "We battled all the way through. There were tough times. There were sparring contests. It was definitely not an easy process."
According to Sam, the sex should mainly be "flesh and fingers and skin and eyes and looks" and if you saw the actual sex "the mystery would be gone."
The nudity double standard is there, too: apparently you don't get to see him naked, but you do get to see her (the film stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.)
Pretty much all the soft porn, including the sex toys, is also out, which makes what's left sound more like a love story than hard-core erotica. But hey, it’s Hollywood, so you’ll still get a happy ending. It just may not be the one you're expecting.
*Words by Caroline Overington, The Weekly's correspondent in Los Angeles.
According to Mr Skin the film will include 20 minutes of sex - or one-fifth of the films 100 minute run.
While we know that this is kind of not the point of the film's premise, we wondered, with that much sex on screen, what else could Christian and Anastasia do with a spare 20 minutes besides… y'know?
So, here are some ideas.
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