'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Movie Rights Sold To Universal Pictures And Focus Features

The film rights for "Fifty Shades of Grey", a steamy trilogy by British author E L James that evolved from the author's Twilight fan fiction, were sold to Universal Pictures and Focus Features today.

The novel is about Anatasia Steele (Ana), a college student who bonds, quite literally, with a business tycoon, Christian Grey. The couple becomes involved in a dominate/subordinate relationship, illustrated through purple prose and email exchanges.

It's been called "mommy porn," and after reading Jezebel's NSFW excerpts, we can't help but agree:

"Hmm...he's soft and hard at once, like steel encased in velvet, and surprisingly tasty — salty and smooth...he's my own Christian Grey flavor popsicle."

"Why don't you like to be touched?" I whisper, staring up into soft gray eyes.
"Because I'm fifty shades of fucked up, Anastasia."

According to The New York Times, "['Fifty Shades of Grey'] was published by a tiny independent press in Australia, and distribution in print has been limited and sluggish, leaving bookstores deprived of copies. The lion’s share of total sales (more than 250,000 copies for all three books) has come from ever-discreet e-book downloads."

Earlier this month, Vintage, a publisher known for its focus on literary fiction, acquired the book, in the expectation that they will garner more American readers. The company defended the novel against accusations of thematic plagiarism, stating, "the great majority of readers, including fan fiction aficionados, have found 'Fifty Shades' deeply immersive and incredibly satisfying."

Its startling rise in popularity made a movie deal seem inevitable, and indeed, the bidding wars were cut-throat. According to Variety, Sony offered $5 million for film rights, but was ultimately unsuccessful. To put this in perspective: Dan Brown's blockbuster "The Da Vinci Code" sold for around $3 million.

There's no news about casting, as yet. We feel that, for the lead roles, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart would be perfect.