Sam Taylor – Johnson

Director –  Fifty Shades of Grey.

I was excited when I heard the announcement approx: June 2013 that Sam Taylor – Johnson would direct “Fifty Shades of Grey“. The film would be an adaptation of E. L. James’ best-selling erotic novel. The rumours were flying then and there unconfirmed reports that  Angelina Jolie, Gus Van Sant and others like Steven Soderbergh and Joe Wright had been contenders for the job.

My first recollection of Sam Taylor-Wood was in early 2010 after seeing the film called “Nowhere Boy” a wonderful drama, that portrayed of the earlier life of John Lennon and the fragmented relationship he had with his mother. The film starred Kirsten Scott Thomas (an actress I’d really liked) and Sam’s now husband Aaron Johnson.  Apparently their relationship began during the filming of Nowhere Boy in 2009 and they announced their engagement at the film’s premiere in October 2009. Since then, they have had two children, making it four children in total including Sam’s two older children from her first marriage, to art dealer Jay Joplin.


Aaron Johnson is better known for films such as The illusionist, Anna Karenina, Savages, Godzilla and Kick-Ass + Kick Ass 2.


By mid 2011, I’d moved to London and was settling into a lovely flat in W2. My neighbour ‘Charles’ had given me the run down on the flat, it’s history and the neighbourhood. He mentioned a jeweller called Solange Azagury-Partridge. I googled her and found the short film ‘DAYDREAM’ directed by Sam Taylor-Wood. The short film featured Liberty Ross, a beautiful English model in her bedroom,  bejewelled in Solange’s range of jewels called 24:7.  I was really taken with the emotive impact such a short film could have, not to mention it was sexy and visually beautiful.

I read more about Sam after seeing Daydream and discovered a commendable visual artist with a extensive resume of credits and commissions to her name. Sam first received recognition as a photographer and video artist, her accolades and commissions are vast, amongst them an (OBE) Order of the British Empire.

“The most understated credit of all is the fact that she has survived cancer twice,

which she attributed to transendental meditation and yoga.”

2015. During an interview about the film ’50 Shades of Grey’  she was quoted as saying “ the call came at eight o’clock the next morning: ‘OK, you got the job – we’re announcing it at midday.’ It was like jumping onto a high-speed train and the doors locking behind me. And I’m only now about to get off… I’m not that seasoned a director, and I had a few moments when I thought, ‘This is way bigger than I can handle.’ But I’m also not a quitter.”

– Extract from Tim Walker, ‘The Independent UK.

Sydney: 12th February 2015. 

50 Shades of Grey screens publicly today, it’s been a sell out prior to, with an estimated 150,000 tickets sold, I’m not sure who has the other 149,999?

Event Cinemas says “it is the fastest-selling movie in the history of its Gold Class cinemas”.

And then there’s the Soundtrack…

Soundtrack – itunes

‘Solid as a Rock’.

Carole Stone is the Executive Chairman of YouGovStone UK.

The ‘Best-Connected Woman in British Business by the Institute of Directors and O2’ with a database of more than 48,000 contacts.

Britain’s best connected Woman, Carole Stone had turned 70 and I was lucky enough to meet her during the filming of her birthday video in London. She was performing at a stand up Comedy night called “Funny Women”. She was cheeky, witty and absolutely hilarious. She made fun of herself exposing all her faults and weaknesses as she told her stories, I laughed so much it brought tears to my eyes.


The Reform Club. Photo: Lighting Services UK.

Carole’s Birthday Party was at The Reform Club. A club that has appealed to many film company’s and writers, like Anthony Trollope’s novel “Phineas Finn”, Jules Verne’s “Around the World in Eighty Days”, Graham Greene’s spy novel “The Human Factor” and apparently Michael Palin ended his TV series ‘around the world in 80 days’ on the steps outside because he didn’t have a jacket or tie on and wasn’t allowed in…

Reform club lobby

The James Bond movies, “Die Another Day” and “Quantum of Solace”, “The Quiller Memorandum”, “The Avengers”, “Nicholas Nickleby” and “Sherlock Holmes”, and more recently a scene from ‘Paddington’ the new children’s movie was filmed here with Hugh Bonneville.

The Reform Club. Photo: James Bond Locations.


The Reform Club Library, venue for the party. Photo: Michael Caldwell.

When I arrived at this visually breath-taking and majestic building, I was overwhelmed and rushed to the bathroom to gain composure. An elegant lady came in to powder her nose and I struck up conversation with her and swiftly followed her to the dressing room, where I found Carole. Here the champagne was flowing, a must as mine kept evaporating. My Video Title Design, landed a round of applause which was very unexpected, as was the mass introduction Carole had given me. The night held many surprises, including meeting Michael Palin (Monty Python) and Salman Rushdie (Author). I felt my father turn in his grave when I couldn’t remember what Salman Rushdie had written or why he’d needed British protection, I did remember his affair though…

carole's 70th b'day

The Reform Club. Video Title Design: Jennifer Bone.

This TEDx video on you tube focuses on the importance of networking and making the most of people, to your mutual advantage.

“Carole Stone is, as solid as a rock, brilliantly cut & luminous”.