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‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Premiere Brings Lots of Leather, Loads of Love

Variety logo Variety 2/3/2017 Dani Levy
© Provided by Variety

Though the cast emphasized the dark tone of the next installment of the erotic romance series, Thursday night’s “Fifty Shades Darker” premiere was anything but.

The mood was positively titillating on the Ace Hotel’s red carpet in Downtown Los Angeles, while screams and hollers filled the theater during the screening. Interviewers asked the cast the naughtiest of questions, handing them props like whip cream, handcuffs, and feather whips. But as big of a theme as romance was, the love between the cast members shined brighter than anything else. Ashleigh LaThrop, who plays Ana’s coworker Hannah, called the cast the “Fifty Family.”

“Great to see you, brother,”Jamie Dornan, who plays millionaire sadist (the character’s own words) Christian Grey, said to co-star Eric Johnson with a handshake and hug.

“I didn’t really know what to expect, but we had a lot of fun. That I didn’t expect,” Johnson said of filming, though he lamented having to “show up at work everyday and do awful things to Dakota [Johnson].” Eric plays Jack Hyde, a new villain and Anastasia Steele’s boss at Seattle Independent Press, a character that Eric says is “slowly unraveling.”

“I think this film is about two people with a very deep connection trying to figure out their s— together and all the things in life that get in the way between you and love,” Eric said.

Eloise Mumford, who plays Ana’s best friend Kate, said the film “opens our eyes to different kinds of love stories, encouraging us all to delve a little bit deeper into what actually is going on behind closed doors.”

Such a romance, filled with chains, whips, and what seems like an endless supply of luxury cars requires a lot of trust, which director James Foley fostered when the camera was both on and off.

“Trust is a pivotal word,” the filmmaker noted.

Perhaps more interesting was his reveal that this film and its sequel, “Fifty Shades Freed,” were filmed simultaneously.

“Somedays we would film ‘Darker’ in the morning and ‘Freed’ in the afternoon,” he said. “I would have to switch my mind. The two films even have a different visual style.”

For Dornan, the extra time on set proved useful.

“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 said.

“Fifty Shades Darker” hits theaters on Feb. 10.

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