Ian Somerhalder wants to sink his teeth into the film adaptation for the bestselling erotic novel, "Fifty Shades of Grey." Smolderholder, as his castmates and myriad of adoring fans call him, is no stranger to dark romance or erotic plots. He plays sadistic, lovelorn vampire, Damon Salvatore, in "The Vampire Diaries ("TVD"), and his film credits in "How to Make Love to a Woman" and "The Rules of Attraction" make him especially suitable for the role of Christian Grey.
Dalena in Shades of Grey
The book's billionaire protagonist, Christian, is in love but afraid to give up control. Much like Damon, he acts out in vicious and controlling ways; although, in this case it pertains to role-playing games. Perhaps Somerhalder could recruit his TV and real life love interest, Nina Dobrev, to play naïve college student, Anastasia Steele. The tumultuous soap opera romance on "TVD" replayed on more adult terms and with character names worthy of the romance genre.
Dobrev has earned her stripes as innocent, high school student Elena Gilbert. She easily fits the innocent, college student role in the E.L. James' novel, which The Daily Beast's Katie Roiphe calls a "stylized theater of female powerlessness." Also, the switch from teen romance to more adult sex themes mirrors "Fifty Shades of Grey's" evolution. The British author's novel started out as saucy "Twilight" fan fiction and exploded into a trilogy of novels, a seven-figure publishing deal and a movie deal.
The 'Twilight' Effect
While the trilogy has generated some feminist backlash for its submissive female character, Roiphe also points out "that millions of otherwise intelligent women are willing to tolerate prose on this level." It's a critical lynching reminiscent of attacks made against James' writing muse, "Twilight."
The "Twilight" backlash included debates on its female protagonist's weaknesses and relationship woes, which were compared to those of battered women. Even master of horror Stephen King weighed in, stating, "Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good." Still, it did little to stop the vampire series' lucrative, mega franchise status. The same seems true for "Fifty Shades of Grey."
Steamy without the Scandal
As long as fans gorge on the guilty pleasure of James' assailed prose, Somerhalder can maintain his smoldering, blue-eyed gaze on the protagonist post. The former "Lost" actor's mischievous eyebrows and amiable looks (compared persistently to Rob Lowe and Chace Crawford) certainly can't hurt. Also the sex-fueled role and its loyal audience will serve to propel Somherhalder's steamy image without the notoriety his look-alike Lowe faced in a late '80s sex tape scandal.
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