New trailer for Seattle-set ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ shows strange geography

Did you know the richest bachelor in Seattle offices in insular, working class West Seattle? I didn’t, either, until I saw the trailer released this morning for “Fifty Shades of Grey.” That’s the film adaptation of the erotic BDSM trilogy by British author E.L. James. Universal Pictures now plans to open the flick in theaters on February 14, 2015–Valentine’s Day for those whose relationships need sparking with some whips and chains.

As I noted here more than two years ago, the Fifty Shades of Grey novel trio is set in Seattle. It’s a location that doesn’t have a lot to do with the plot other than, maybe, it’s glamorous.

Mere hours after its release, the trailer itself, which features a Beyonce soundtrack of “Crazy in Love,” has already become the subject of considerable ridicule. The final scene of the trailer shows sexy youngish tycoon Christian Grey, described in the book as Seattle’s wealthiest unmarried man, looking out his skyscraper office window (he’s dressed in a suit and doesn’t have co-star Dakota Johnson tied up near him, so I’m assuming he’s in the office) at the dramatic Seattle skyline along Elliott Bay on the city’s western side. The Space Needle is on the left, Columbia Tower, the city’s tallest building, is on the right. Grey, who is played by Jamie Dornan, actually appears higher than the top of anything on the skyline.

By my reckoning, the only place Grey could be standing is somewhere in West Seattle, the surprisingly remote, hilly peninsula full of middle-class folks two miles directly southwest across the bay from downtown. Not a very likely venue in real life for a billionaire to work or live. But then again, mommy porn author James was even less New To Seattle than I was when the books started appearing in 2011, having never ever visited the city and doing all of her local research on the Internet.

(In case you wonder, Paul Allen, who with an estimated net worth of $16 billion really is the richest bachelor around Seattle, has an office near CenturyLink Field, home of his Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. He lives on Mercer Island, which is off the eastern side of Seattle in Lake Washington, but recently bought a $27 million mansion in California’s Silicon Valley.)

Despite beautiful local scenery, this movie about a romantic story set in Seattle was largely shot in an entirely different country–Canada, or more specifically, Vancouver, B.C., 140 miles to the north. British director Sam Taylor-Johnson (no kin to Dakota Johnson, who is the daughter of actors Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson) even used the campus of the University of British Columbia as the set for the college that Anastasia Steele, the Dakota Johnson character, attends in the Other Vancouver, the smaller one in Washington State, near Portland, Ore.

I assume costs and tax credits had something to do with this little change in venue. So maybe BDSM really stands for Better Damn Save Money.

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