Anne Rice wrote the original Fifty Shades of Grey via her Sleeping Beauty trilogy. That said, if you thought Fifty Shades was filthy, E L James has nothing on the retelling of this favorite fairy tale. Now, Sleeping Beauty is ready for TV.
Televisa USA will be adapting the first book, and I really don’t know how they’re going to get away with it. Honestly, Rice’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty opens with the prince raping the princess into wakefulness. It gets more wicked from there.
As a longtime Anne Rice fan, even I was a little put off by the Sleeping Beauty trilogy. I’m an erotica connoisseur, but I had to take breaks from these books for fear of becoming a true deviant. Rice holds back nothing, and you gotta wonder what it was like in the Rice marriage bed.
Oscar-nominated Dallas Buyers Club producer Rachel Winter is behind this ballsy move. She approached Rice with the idea of adapting her BDSM series in 2012, and she will executive-produce alongside Rice. I’m glad Rice will be a part of the production. I think she learned to be involved the hard way when the film Queen of the Damned destroyed her vampire novel in 2002.
The Sleeping Beauty series is a lot more romantic (is that the right word?) than Fifty Shades. There are no emailed contracts or elevator make-out sessions. The writing is lush, and the sex is, well, educational. Rice was way before the times when she wrote this trilogy, which is possibly why she first wrote these books under a pseudonym. I imagine an open portrayal of a BDSM relationship was quite a shocker for the early 1980s.
No matter how much I respect the books, I’m not confident in a TV adaptation. The film version of Fifty Shades has the same problem. How do you portray the graphic sexual acts without just devolving into porn? Especially on television. How will writers and directors tell the story of Sleeping Beauty without watering her down to the point of non-recognition?
Creative officer Michael Garcia makes this project sound like a mix between Fifty Shades and Game of Thrones, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He’s right when he says there’s no better time to adapt The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, what with the way American women seem drawn to the dom/sub culture. There will be viewership, certainly, but will we all be disappointed by the end product?
I’m still amazed by how the BDSM subculture has taken off. I’ve been reading Anne Rice since I was a fetus, so I was well informed on the subject with the help of the Sleeping Beauty trilogy and, my personal favorite, Exit to Eden. With the release of Fifty Shades, the whole country has become bondage proud. Makes you wonder if we were all just closet kinky, waiting for the right moment to spring free. Now, we stand in the open and shout, “Yes, please tie me to the bed!” (Everyone else is doing it.)
Authors like Anne Rice and E L James opened a door that will not be closed. In February, we’ll get a close-up view of bondage via Fifty Shades, the film. Later, we’ll get a taste of fairy-tale freaky sheets via TV. The really important question, though, is: Will we like bondage as much when we’re seeing it onscreen and not just on the page?