EL James’ bestselling erotic romance novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” has sparked a phenomenon and inspired millions of women around the world. But the book hasn’t just encouraged reading and writing abroad—its influence has also struck a chord much closer to home.
In latest “50 Shades” news, author EL James’ husband, Niall Leonard, sat down this Tuesday for an interview with “TODAY” to discuss his wife’s record-breaking novel. Leonard talked this week how James’ incredible success—as well as a confirmed making of a “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie—led him to write a popular book himself.
Many fans have wondered whether Leonard might very well serve as a sort of Christian Grey character in EL James’ eyes, or at least have helped molded his design. Niall laughed that while their marriage may have done something to spur the writing or talk of a fourth book, he’s no Christian Grey.
“I am not the inspiration for Christian Grey, except in the sense that being married to me might might have actually made her invent Christian Grey,” her husband said about the handsome, BDSM-privy billionaire.
The writer added that the two’s house in the U.K. doesn’t have its own private Charlie Tango or secret Red Room of Pain, either.
“At this point, we barely have room for the ironing, never mind all of the equipment.”
Leonard added that his wife initially wrote the beginnings of the book on a Fanfiction site (loosely based off the “Twilight” novels) meant “for herself and a few, close friends.” It was no doubt a tremendous surprise to both writers to see how the erotic novel’s amazing sales and rise to the top of the reading charts took the world by storm.
“At first, there was no marketing campaign at all, and it was purely word of mouth. [But] the momentum just grew and grew,” said Leonard. “It became beyond a phenomenon. It became something metaphors couldn’t just capture. There are no words for it. We just sat around and went, ‘wow.’”
The husband and father said he’s a definite fan of his wife’s “50 Shades” trilogy, which he calls funny, engaging, and passionate. “I really think it’s an amazing book.”
Seeing his wife’s success and happiness from “Fifty Shades of Grey” inspired Niall Leonard—who had worked with television screenwriting—to write his own original novel. Titled, “Crusher,” his book reaches out to a different audience than females infatuated with Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele’s love story.
“It’s about a teenager who has to clear his name after his stepfather’s murder … And when I saw [James] doing what she really wanted to do in writing and doing it her own way, I kind of envied that,” said Leonard. “I thought yeah, I had forgotten the joy of doing [something] just for fun, so I wanted to capture that when I began writing ‘Crusher.’”
Yet even the financial achievement of his wife’s Inner Goddess hasn’t made a big change on the life for the happily married couple. “We have the kids at school. We still walk the dogs … still do the shopping … all that stuff still happens, even with [James’] success and spotlight.”
As for the “Fifty Shades of Grey” film, Niall also set the record straight—much as his wife has done recently on Twitter—that he doesn’t know much about the casting rumors surrounding the upcoming movie adaptation just yet.
While there were major casting rumors swirling that Leonard had initially thought actor Ryan Gosling was a potential top favorite for the lead role of Christian Grey, the husband said that’s still up in the air at this point.
“My official line now is no comment. I really have no idea,” he said with a smile.
For the latest “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie, casting, and pop culture news, you can follow Ryan on Twitter or visit his Facebook page for the most recent updates surrounding the “50 Shades” phenomenon, Books and Film Examiner.