Joe Wright to direct ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’?

The 'Atonement', 'Anna Karenina' director favourite to helm the adaptation

Atonement director Joe Wright has emerged as the favourite to direct Fifty Shades Of Grey.

While no official deal has been agreed, sources have told Variety that the director has been chosen to helm the adaptation. An insider close to the production claims Wright is “their man”.

However, there have been reports of other directors linked to the job including Patty Jenkins, Bill Condon, Bennett Miller and Gus Van Sant, who is said to have reportedly shot a test sex scene starring Alex Pettyfer in a bid to land the coveted job.

The three Fifty Shades Of Grey novels, which trace the sexual relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and businessman Christian Grey, have now sold over 65 million copies worldwide. EL James, the British writer of the books, sold the screen rights to Universal Pictures and Focus Features last March (2012).

Last October, British screenwriter Kelly Marcel was hired to pen the script for the Fifty Shades Of Grey film, but the project still has no confirmed director and EL James admitted in February that “we are still a long way from casting”. Mila Kunis and Emma Watson were once considered frontrunners to play Steele, but both actresses have ruled themselves out, while Ryan Gosling, Channing Tatum and Henry Cavill have all been mooted as potential Christian Greys.

Meanwhile, despite the apparently slow progress, Universal’s chairman Adam Fogelson has predicted that the film could arrive in cinemas as soon as summer 2014.