No sooner was the ink dry on the contracts giving Universal and Focus Features rights to author E.L. James' erotic three-part series "Fifty Shades of Grey" than Hollywood wags were mouthing two magic names: James Schamus and Ang Lee.
It's still a long way to opening night, but with Focus — where Schamus is CEO — picking up the marketing and distribution rights, wouldn't it make sense for Lee to get the call?
With his Taiwanese eye for the erotic and a master storyteller's sense, Lee could direct the so-called ''mommy porn" flick, with longtime film partner and college professor Schamus writing the script adaptation. That pair have shown an affinity for bringing adult fare to the big screen, including the films "Eat Drink Man Woman," "The Ice Storm" and "Lust, Caution."
Or, Schamus could produce and Lee could direct. That combo has produced those three films as well as "Brokeback Mountain," for which Lee won the directing Oscar in 2005.
The script will, of course, bare details of an erotic relationship between a strange billionaire and his female college graduate paramour.
Some pundits on both sides of the Atlantic whisper that the James story was ''inspired'
by characters in Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling ''Twilight'' novels, and then took on a life of its own, in part due to the internet, in part due to a glowing hype-lift by Julie Bosman in the New York Times and in part due to American women and their healthy libidos.
Universal says it's too early for any discussions, much less decisions, on who will produce, direct or write. James' literary agent Valerie Hoskins is keeping mum, too.
Still, with Schamus and Focus in the picture, it's hard not to think that Lee could be a strong candidate. It could get hot in there!