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Originally published Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 6:22 AM

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Sam Taylor-Johnson to direct '50 Shades' movie

British visual artist and filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson has been signed to direct the movie version of erotic best-seller "50 Shades of Grey," producers have announced.

The Associated Press

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LONDON —

British visual artist and filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson has been signed to direct the movie version of erotic best-seller "50 Shades of Grey," producers have announced.

Taylor-Johnson, whose only previous feature was the 2009 John Lennon biopic "Nowhere Boy," promised she would "honor the power" of the book, which has sold millions of copies and spawned countless imitators.

The announcement was made Wednesday by Universal Pictures and Focus Features. Producer Michael De Luca said Taylor-Johnson's "unique ability to gracefully showcase complex relationships dealing with love, emotion and sexual chemistry make her the ideal director" for the story of the S&M-tinged romance between a young student and an enigmatic billionaire.

"50 Shades" author E.L. James tweeted that she was "delighted and thrilled" by the choice.

The 46-year-old director, previously known as Sam Taylor-Wood, is one of Britain's best-known visual artists. Her works include a video portrait of David Beckham sleeping that hangs in London's National Portrait Gallery. She also made "Crying Men," a compilation of Hollywood actors in tears.

In 2012 she married "Kick-Ass" star Aaron Johnson, whom she met when he played the young Lennon in "Nowhere Boy." Both adopted the surname Taylor-Johnson.

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