Don’t worry, parents — there’s nothing Rated R here.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Fifty Shades franchise is back, and it’s supposed to be even ~darker~ than before. (Though, if you look at reviews for the sequel, some argue that it’s only a few shades darker, if any, rather than 50, but whatevs.) That being said, we can’t help but think about the one that started it all; the OG 50 Shades of Grey.
The book, and subsequent movie, is said to be based off of Twilight fan-fiction. Nevertheless, there are quite a few conspiracy theories that are unlike any you’ve read that pertain to the Stephenie Meyer-penned saga. Trust us on that one. Here are six such conspiracies that’ll f*ck with your mind:
1. For starters, Fifty Shades of Grey is a self-help book, NOT a pornography. A great many people who haven’t read the text — and, hell, many people who have — regard the Fifty Shades novels as nothing more or less than erotica. However, there’s at least one human who believes it to be a great deal more than smut.
Eva Illouz, sociology professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and president of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, believes the works to be those of the self-help variety. “Pornographic texts are intended explicitly to arouse sexually, usually, a male and solitary viewer,” she writes. “Fifty Shades, on the other hand, is written assuming the presence of a partner. The sexual scenes are not written to arouse the eye, but meant to instruct men and women on inventive and efficient ways to improve their sexual pleasure.”
She continues to note that 50 manages to intertwine “a commentary on the deprived condition of love and sexuality, a romantic fantasy and self-help instructions on how to improve that life.”
Hey, you know what they say: One man’s trash is another man’s (or woman’s) treasure.
2. Leading man Christian Grey may be hot… but he may be a cult leader. The Film Theorists tore Fifty Shades a new one the year it came out in a nearly 19-minute video. Here, you can watch a step-by-step guide as to how Christian uses techniques similar to how a cult leader might recruit a new member:
3. It also may be a metaphor for eating disorders. If you note all the times Ana actually puts food into her mouth throughout the film, you’d have a pretty blank sheet of paper. Apart from that one time she took a bite of toast (only for him to nom it right after), nada. So when a 2014 study published in the Journal of Women’s Health was released, reasoning that the tale is a metaphor for eating disorders, the public wasn’t exactly in a state of shock.
The study (via Bustle) boasts that people who had read the Fifty Shades of Grey series were more likely to have eating disorders or to be in abusive relationships than people who had never read the books. Gathering the data from 650 women between the ages of 18 and 24, the report notes that those who read the novel were 25% more likely to be in verbally abusive relationships, 34% more likely to have been stalked by their partner and, even more shockingly, 75% were more likely to have fasted (given up eating) for 24 hours or more.
Oh, and get this: the leading lady’s name is Anastasia a.k.a. Ana… which is the Internet slang way of saying anorexic. Meanwhile, Christian’s sister, Mia — ever heard that term before? ’cause, apparently, it’s the Internet slang way of saying bulimia. Dear GOD.
4. Fifty Shades of Grey predicts the end of the United States of America. The Illuminati is somehow almost always involved in fan theories. And this time is no different. According to the self-proclaimed “Co-Prophet of These End Times” (via Cracked), the film is a message from the Illuminati about how they, quote, “plan to bring America into bondage.”
“To summarize, Anastasia Steele is the W*ore of Babylon/United States of America,” the report suggests, “while Christian Grey is the Scarlet Beast/Russia who eventually defeats/dominates her.”
The report continues, “He also takes a few moments to deconstruct the title of the film, highlighting that the “fifty shades” is a reference to “fifty states” and that the “grey” is a reference to how everything will look after Russia electro-clamps us into the Stone Age.”
In separate articles, people claim that they’ve seen Illuminati symbols at both the beginning and end of the flick.
5. You may notice a bit of symbolism related to mind control. Which directly correlates to the whole Illuminati thing. More here.
6. The book was written by a group of preteen boys. E.L. James who? One theorist thinks the story is the work of other, far younger beings. “It’s so wretched that I have to wonder if it’s on purpose,” says the theorist. “Here’s my theory: 50 Shades of Grey was actually written by a group of misogynistic 12-year-old boys. These jerks have a twisted plan: They want millions of women to fall in love with this stuff, identify with it and publicly proclaim allegiance to it (a blockbuster movie is in the works).”
Dakota Johnson wasn’t the only famous woman to be considered for Ana Steele:
Shailene was asked to audition for the film, but turned down the chance. She explained her decision by saying, “It’s because I had already done Divergent and I knew there was no way I wanted to do multiple franchises at the same time, because that’s crazy, so I didn’t see the point in it.”
The PLL actress DID audition, on the other hand, but wasn't a fan of the audition process. She told Cosmopolitan, "That audition was so uncomfortable! It’s exactly what you thought it would be: a big monologue but very, very sexual. There were some things that I was so embarrassed to be reading out loud, but it’s one of those things where you have to commit wholeheartedly or you’re going to make a fool of yourself." Hm, maybe it's best that she didn't end up getting this role!
Following rumors that Ian Somerhalder was considered to play Christian, fans immediately began talking about the idea of Nina also starring in the film. While TVD fans were totally on board for this to happen, Nina wasn't. She told MTV, "I think it would be better [if] either he should get it or I should get it," but not both together.
Despite being an early fave to play Ana, the HP actress shot down rumors of ever actually being attached to the film. She told EW, "I haven’t read the book, I haven’t a read a script, nothing! There are so many movies you become attached to when I've literally never even received a phone call."
When rumors surfaced that Elizabeth was in the running to play Anastasia Steele, all she had to say was, "No! No! No!"
In the summer of 2013, Variety reported that Imogen was one of director Sam Taylor-Johnson's favorites to play Anastasia.
Digital Spy reported that at 30, Felicity was too old to play college-student Anastasia.
Alicia was another one of the director's favorites, Variety reports.