It's been two long years since Fifty Shades of Grey brought BDSM to mainstream movie screens, and ever since the film was released, fans have been waiting for the sequel. With the release of Fifty Shades Darker on the horizon, people have already turned their attention to the next, and final, movie in the adaptation of the trilogy Fifty Shades Freed. Lucky for fans, they don't have another two year waiting period to trek through before the third movie is released. Fifty Shades Freed is coming sooner than you think, set for release on Feb. 8, 2018.
Fans have a busy schedule to thank for the year-long gap between the next two Fifty Shades movies. To make sure fans wouldn't have to wait another two years to find out what happens to Christian and Anastasia and their erotic love story, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed were filmed simultaneously. Filming both films at the same time, though challenging, ensures that fans won't have to wait another two years for Fifty Shades Freed to jump through all the pre-production hoops of the first to films. Furthermore, new director James Foley, who did not direct Fifty Shades Darker, was behind the camera for both films, which will give the series' last two films a certain continuity.
Shooting the two films side-by-side was not easy. "Some days we would film Darker in the morning and Freed in the afternoon," Foley said in an interview with Variety at the premiere. "I would have to switch my mind." Then again, for Jamie Dornan, who plays Christian, filming both movies at once had a silver lining. Dornan was famously cast about a month before Fifty Shades of Grey began filming, making for a rushed pre-production. This time around, Dornan had plenty of time to become the Christian Grey women love to lust over. "I was able to live with the character for a longer time. I feel pretty good about him and I think I have a better understanding of him," Dornan told Variety at the premiere.
Double the film, of course, meant that the filmmakers had to cover double the plot, and film double the sex scenes. Spoiler alert: there are a lot of them — in both films. And filming two movies worth of sex scenes at the same time wasn't without its challenges. For Dakota Johnson, who plays Ana in the films, the main challenge was in keeping it fresh. "For this one it was specifically difficult because there are a lot of them and you want to make them different from each other," Johnson said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter at the film's pre-premiere party. "They have a large part in furthering the story, so it's a tricky combination of things to make it happen. It's not easy."
Making sure that Fifty Shades Freed could hit theaters sooner rather than later was worth it, but clearly, no simple process.