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From the detail driven Masquerade Ball to the helicopter views of The Grace sailing in the Howe Sound, Fifty Shades Darker brings a richer, warmer love story to the screen. The production team of James Foley, John Schwartzman, Nelson Coates and E. L .James have painted the second story of the Fifty Shades trilogy in tones that convey warmth and comfort as a background to the beginning of Christian and Ana’s wanting more.

There are several additions to the cast from the first FSOG movie with Eric Johnson as Jack Hyde, Bella Heathcoate as Leila, Kim Bassinger as Elena Lincoln plus several new SIP employees.

While filming Darker and Freed back to back it was a busy 5 months of filming in Vancouver BC with an intense schedule for the cast and crew. The production team was busy with several room additions to Escala and filming at many new locations around Vancouver BC. The added rooms included Christian’s office, Ana’s closet area, a gym, Christians shower room and also the library with pool table.

The new look with Escala included new flooring and furnishings throughout. My favorite new feature was the long fireplace in the great room, as it is a perfect background for several of the scenes filmed in this room

The Masquerade Ball had to be the biggest job for the production team. While it was filmed at two locations in the movie it moves seamlessly from the entrance area filmed at Casa Mia to the inside of the tent at the Convention Center. Nelson Coates took a 180 degree turn from the Darker book description with his over the top décor right down to the menus and table settings. While watching the building of the tenting behind Casa Mia during filming I came to see that it would be very different from the book and I was super excited to see it in the movie. It proved to be a spectacular set with so many details and colors to take in. There is no “white pergola” to be seen anywhere.

Universal brought in a team to film the ball using 360 camera technologies and now have it available to be seen through VR glasses on your computer or phone through Oculus. This adds a new element to the ball and puts the viewer right in the middle of the room to see all the people including Ana and Christian.

Some of my favorite scenes from the movie are the sailing with The Grace and of course the Masquerade Ball. Jamie and Dakota brought a lot more emotion to their characters in this movie along with funny moments between them too.

Several scenes and lines were straight out of the book while screenwriter Niall Leonard added in some of his own flair with new ones. “Ladies and Gentlemen and Mia” is one of his best. I noticed that twice the Dr. Flynn line from the book “We must walk before we can run” was quoted but it seems Dr. Flynn was cut from the movie along with a few other scenes from the book. Niall Leonard shared that he tried to cut out anything that was repetitious and with doing that the needed scenes from the book then came more apparent.  Yes, I did really miss seeing the Audi R8 in Darker.

The filming for the proposal was done inside the pool house at Rio Vista a private residence in Vancouver. It provided the perfect setting for the “hearts and flowers” proposal and gave the appearance of a beautiful floral garden. The set decorating was spot on to reflect the feel from the book and a perfect way to finish the movie.

The ending of Darker may not be as abrupt as the first movie with the elevator doors closing, but it definitely left us wanting more. Fifty Shades Freed opens February 2018 and should prove to be just as visually pleasing as Darker with the filming completed in France.

It’s Time To Get Darker….

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