The long-awaited Fifty Shades of Grey opens in theatres around the world on Valentine’s Day. Filmed on-location in Vancouver, BC, this movie is based on the first episode of E L James’ story that has become a worldwide phenomena, selling more than 100 million copies in 52 languages.
Stepping into the iconic roles of billionaire entrepreneur Christian Grey and curious college student Anastasia Steele are Jamie Dornan (television’s The Fall, Once Upon a Time) and Dakota Johnson (The Social Network, 21 Jump Street). Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy), this erotic and authentic love story from series creator E L James takes us deep inside a rich and mysterious world that explores frankly the complexities of male-female dynamics, and the limits to which we will allow ourselves to go—and to be taken.
To remain true to the settings in the book, and also to provide the necessarily less-than-sunny atmosphere, shooting was set for the Pacific Northwest, specifically Vancouver, British Columbia (which would stand in for Seattle and Vancouver, Washington; and Portland, Oregon). Although the story takes place during the summer months, shooting had to be scheduled with a December start date.
Some sites had to bring to life the iconic locations in James’ tome: Heathman Hotel filmed at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and Washington State University filmed at the University of British Columbia, which was dressed with appropriate WSU school S.W.A.G. and 500 collegiate-looking extras. Ana and Christian’s first date at a coffee shop is the location of one of the earliest scenes in the movie. A section of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, called Gastown, doubled for Portland, which is where the coffee shop location, among others, was chosen. Clayton’s Hardware Store, where Ana works while in college, is actually located about 45 minutes outside of Vancouver in a little town called Ladner. More than 10 old-fashioned hardware stores were scouted before a drive down Ladner’s Main Street, where the yellow façade of the store seemed to beckon to the scouting team to stop and come inside.
By studying examples inside upper-end Seattle residences, the production team “localized” two Vancouver, British Columbia, homes, built a quarter of a mile apart for two entrepreneurial brothers in the 1920s, to ensure that the sets would fit the city. One home provided the exterior for the Trevelyan/Grey home and the interior foyer and dining room. The other home was used for its glass-enclosed swimming pool (taking the place of the boathouse from the book that Christian shows Ana, following dinner with his family).
(Source: Fifty Shades of Grey Production Information)