’50 Shades of Grey’ Author E.L. James on Why She Picked Universal and Focus

E.L. James, author of the “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy, explains how she chose to climb into bed with her new film partners Universal and Focus

E.L. James, the author of "50 Shades of Grey," is opening up about why she went with Universal Pictures and Focus Features to adapt her trilogy of best-sellers to the big screen.

Also read: "50 Shades of Grey" Trilogy Rights Go to Universal

And while the $5 million she reportedly received for the deal certainly didn't hurt, James tells EW.com that she did it for the laughs — specifically, those elicited by Focus president of production Jeb Brody.

“I really like clever men who challenge you,” James told the website, “and with Jeb, I thought, yeah, I can work with that!”

Also read: Why Hollywood Is Hot for "50 Shades of Grey"

Plus, James added, Focus Features — responsible for such releases as "Lost in Translation" and "The Pianist" — has "a great background in handling difficult material.”

The book, which made the New York Times best-seller list, revolves around a female college student who finds herself in a kinky relationship involving sadomasochism and submission with 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey. The book's two sequels, "Fifty Shades Darker" and "50 Shades Freed," probe into the couple's deepening relationship.

James' steamy novels — published by Vintage Books — recently sparked a feeding frenzy in Hollywood, with producers Brian Grazer, Adam Shankman, Scott Stuber, Doug and Lucy Wick and Stacy Cramer courting James and her agent, Valerie Hoskins.

A few laughs and a good reputation aren't the only things that convinced James to ink a deal with Universal and Focus: The authoress also told EW.com that she was granted the approvals she requested, which included script and casting approvals.

“This makes me sound like a control freak, doesn’t it?” James asked EW.com.

Perhaps not as much as her protagonist, but yeah, maybe a little