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The Fifty Shades of Grey franchise is moving into the casting phase for the next film and Universal has officially announced that Kim Basinger has signed on. In Fifty Shades Darker the Oscar winning actress will play the character Elena Lincoln, who is a former business partner and ex-lover to the lead character, Christian Grey.

Jamie Dornan will be reprising his role as Christian Grey, and Dakota Johnson be returning to play Anastasia Steele. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson will be stepping down for the second film while James Foley of House of Cards will be stepping in.

The character of Elena is integral to the story, as she is the person who first seduced Christian into an “unconventional” relationship at the age of 15. That experience, along with childhood trauma, helped shape his sexual psyche, including an interest in sadomasochism that the story is based on. In movie two it’s revealed that Elena and Christian are still involved in business, and Elena has some issues with Anastasia. The second film is more of a thriller than the first one, with plot twists involving a stalker involved.

Kim is an interesting casting choice, as she starred in the controversial 1986 film 9 1/2 Weeks which was the first mainstream film to explore aspects of sadomasochism in a relationship.

Although critics didn’t have great things to say about the Fifty Shades book series, the huge following made the first film a hit with $571 million in box-office earnings.

The currently scheduled release date for Fifty Shades Darker is February 10, 2017.

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