Since you’re reading this on the internet, we’re going to assume that you’re familiar with 50 Shades Of Grey. The book series and film adaptation have exploded in popularity over the past few years, opening up a new public dialogue on sex and storytelling and making its author one of the most famous women on earth.
You are probably familiar with the story, even if you haven’t read or watched it. Summary: it’s all about sex! Having said that, there are a surprising amount of interesting facts about both the book, and film production that you’ll be excited to learn about, whether you’re a fan or not.
25. Influential Author
Here’s something that might excite or irk you, depending on whether you’re a fan or not: author EL James was named by Time Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in The World” last year.
24. Fan Fiction
The book was originally written as Twilight fan fiction, with the working title Master of the Universe, before James completely rewrote it as an original story. Still, main characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey are loosely based on Twilight mainstays Bella and Edward! Just add a few billion dollars and subtract the whole vampire thing.
23. Snowqueen Cometh
Source: International Business Times
Speaking of that original draft: James used the pen name Snowqueen’s Icedragon when writing it. Maybe it’s just us, but that sounds more like a Game of Thrones character than anything.
22. Ignoring Inspiration
Given that it was based on her stories, you’d think Twilight author Stephanie Meyer might be a fan of 50 Shades Of Grey. On the contrary, she’s stated that it’s “not my thing.”
21. Age of Attraction
This one might not be surprising, but it’s an interesting fact regardless: according to the publisher, buyers of 50 Shades are predominantly middle-aged women. Mind=blown, right?
20. Move Over, Gideon
Instead of the standard Gideon bible, seen in nearly every hotel in the western world, the Damson Dene Hotel has placed copies of 50 Shades of Grey in their hotel room drawers. We’re guessing they simply recognized which one might actually get read during a typical vacation!
19. Reading About Sex > Actual Sex?
According to one poll, an incredible 44 percent of all women said that they preferred reading 50 Shades Of Grey to actually having sex. We’re not sure whether guys should feel jealous of the book or just pick up a copy for themselves.
18. Express Yourself
While the books themselves are not known for their literary power, some academics have praised the series. They say that, despite the lack of insight into the real world of alternative lifestyle sex, it’s been helping many women feel comfortable expressing and enjoying their sexual desires. If anything good has come of the books’ popularity, it’s this!
17. Bigger Than Potter?!
Speaking of popularity: the 50 Shades trilogy has moved over 31 million copies worldwide, ensuring that the novels overtook Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Da Vinci Code as the bestselling books in the UK. Now that’s some strange magic!
16. Fifty Shades Of Board
Apparently, there’s a Fifty Shades of Grey board game. It’s called The Fifty Shades of Grey Party Game. The game is designed to spice up a girls night in to find out everything you know about your friends before discovers who’s enough of an “Inner Goddess” to win!
15. It’s A Universal Language
The 50 Shades trilogy has now been translated into over 51 different languages for markets around the world, including Thai, Korean, Icelandic, Hebrew, and even Mongolian. If there’s a market for the books, you can be sure there’s a version to serve it!
14. Digital Addiction
Here’s one that might be less surprising than it sounds: Fifty Shades of Grey was the first novel to sell over one million copies on Amazon Kindle. We’re guessing that people preferred a more discreet version of the book that couldn’t be spotted sticking out of a bag our resting on your lap at the beach.
13. What are you, chicken?
You have our apologies for the above image, but it simply had to be used: there exists a cookbook called 50 Shades Of Chicken and it’s a very real thing that you can buy and, presumably, cook edible meals with. We’re pretty okay with keeping our eroticism and our cooking separate, but maybe you’re more daring?
13. All The Bacon
This being the internet, you can bet your last dollar that there’s a bacon version of literally anything you’re thinking of. We think it’s listed somewhere after Rule 34. Ahem. If slipping poultry between the sheets isn’t your thing, maybe you’d rather get oiled up with some hot and steamy bacon grease?
12. Shades of Anarchy
Originally, the role of Christian Grey was supposed to be played by Charlie Hunnam, star of motorcycle gang show Sons Of Anarchy, but after an undisclosed fallout, he was eventually replaced by Jamie Dornan. Now that the movie’s out, folks have settled down, but at the time this was the source of a whole lot of pearl-clutching.
11. Word Up
Here’s something that will perk up the hearts of any voracious readers and lovers of literature: no matter what you think of the book itself, the fact that is that its success is due to good old fashioned word-of-mouth. That’s something to celebrate, especially in a world where almost every major hit is planned and promoted with exacting precision. It didn’t take money to become a hit, just positive word!
10. Sexytime Playlist
Author EL James’ website showcases a few playlists of the music that helped stimulate her writing of sex scenes, one for each book of the trilogy. Artists as varied as Britney Spears, Frank Sinatra, and Kings of Leon have apparently conjured the requisite sexy imagery for these books.
9. Nom De Plume
Even fans of the book series might not know that EL James is not a real person. In fact, that is the pen name (or nom de plume) of author Erika Leonard, who was born in 1963 to a Chilean mother and Scottish father.
8. One Direction
This one might be intriguing for any younger readers out there: Harry Styles (the only One Direction member anyone over 20 knows by name) has said that he read the books to acquire pick up tips. His direct quote was, “I feel like it’s an educational and interesting read.” So there’s that, ladies.
7. Past Life On TV
Long before she became a worldwide bestselling author and publishing phenomenon, author EL James enjoyed a successful career as a television executive in her native UK, helping run shows like Have I Got News For You.
6. Trailer Triumph
In its first week of existence, the trailer for the film adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey managed to rack up enough views to become the most popular trailer of the entire year. Not only is that impressive, but it indicates some insatiable demand, don’t you think?
5. Swimming In Dough
At this point in time, EL James is reportedly worth over $60,000,000 dollars – yes, that’s sixty million US dollars! While plenty of writers with literary aspirations may scoff at the money to be made from more low-brow reading, they’re probably a bit jealous of her ability to (probably?) swim in her money, Scrooge McDuck-style.
4. Bidding War
At least 10 movie studios were reportedly in an all-out brawl to nab the rights to make a film adaptation of the series, with eventual winner Universal and Focus Features shelling out $5 million for the screen rights.
3. Paperback Power
The Fifty Shades trilogy destroyed the record for top number of paperbacks sold in a single week, with all three books in the series selling over 100,000 copies within their respective first seven days. Trees everywhere were quaking in their roots.
2. You’ve Never Been??
EL James has never actually been to Seattle or Portland, the settings of the books. Writing from her native UK, it was a bit of a journey to travel halfway around the globe for research, so instead she used Google Street View to get a sense of the look and feel of these cities.
1. Bead Boom
Okay, so this one might not be a surprise to anyone who’s read the book and felt similarly inspired, but duct tape, rope, and zip ties were flying off hardware store shelves in the wake of the novel’s success. Not only that, but sales of love beads reportedly jumped 400% in some markets! Kind of makes us wonder how many emergency room visits followed!
We hope you’ve found our list as informative, fun, and funny as we did. While not everyone here is a fan of the books, we can all agree that they’ve spawned a lot of great discussion on literature, censorship, and the colorful galaxy of bedroom behavior.