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The Secretary Gets Rebranded To Cash In On Fifty Shades Of Grey Fervor

By Kristy Puchko | Trailers | January 28, 2015 |

By Kristy Puchko | Trailers | January 28, 2015 |

When buzz began that the Twilight fan fiction turned soccer mom obsession Fifty Shades of Grey was getting a BDSM-laced movie, fans of the 2002 release Secretary gave a mighty eyeroll. Not that our culture couldn’t stand to have less vanilla sex represented in cinemas more often, but all this talk of Fifty Shades of Grey being potentially groundbreaking was overblown. Those fans may well facepalm now that Lionsgate is pushing Secretary’s VOD availability with a Fifty Shades-style makeover, calling James Spader’s character “the original Mr. Grey.”

Technically, this claim is true. Spader played Mr. Grey, attorney and demanding dom to Maggie Gyllenhaal’s gleefully submissive secretary. But this rebrand feels dirty in that not good way. See what I mean by checking out the new trailer below. (H/T Vanity Fair)

Now, dare to compare against the original trailer from 2002, which focused on comedy over steaminess:

I’m conflicted about this marketing ploy. On one hand, it’s purposely misrepresenting Secretary to lure in fans impatient for Fifty Shades of Grey’s Valentine’s Day release. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s heroine isn’t the easily startled waif that Anastasia Steele is. She’s damaged, and her journey is not one solely of romance and sex, but also of self-discovery and acceptance. Beyond the May-December aspect (or May-July in Fifty Shades case) and the BDSM kink, there’s really little in common between these two films.

On the other hand, Secretary is a smart, sexy and warmly funny movie that more people should know about. So…maybe this is not only a sloppy cash grab but also for the greater good?

Kristy Puchko lives in perpetual fear that ice cream will become self-aware New York City.

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Kristy Puchko is the managing editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.