There are plenty of questions filmgoers will have going into the hotly anticipated big-screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. And what, exactly, am I going to be watching while I’m sitting here surrounded by strangers might be at the top of the list.
Here, Eloise Mumford, the actress who plays Kate Kavanagh—the best friend and roommate of Dakota Johnson’s Anastasia Steele—talks about her most memorable moments on set, what she really thinks of E.L. James’ best-selling books and why she’ll be just as surprised as you are by what steams up the screen when the movie opens February 13.
If the Fifty Shades books are any indicator, the reaction to this movie is going to be huge. Are you ready to be recognized everywhere you go?
You know, everybody keeps saying that to me but I’m totally unprepared for anything to change.
Love them or hate them, these books seem to get a response from everyone. How do you feel about them?
I like the books because I think it’s very important culturally that they connected with so many women. I consider myself a real feminist—I always have—and I appreciate that there’s finally a surge of books written for and about women. Even though in the books Anastasia is obviously in an interesting relationship as far as being submissive, it really connected with women across the world in an interesting way. It’s a movement in our culture.
There’s been a lot made of how involved in the film E.L. James was. It was reported she and the director had a sometimes-difficult relationship. How would you describe life on the set?
The set was incredibly calm. Everybody was really just concerned with making the best film possible. Everybody’s attention was on the material and taking on the job at hand. I think that everybody was working really hard, which is the best-case scenario.
People are dying to know what from the book makes it into the film. What’s the most common question people ask you?
So many people have read the book or know something about the book, and I think people are expecting the film to be very true to the book. For a lot of the sex scenes, I wasn’t there, so I wouldn’t know. I’ll be just as excited as everybody else to see what ends up on screen.
You finished filming the movie last year. What’s stayed with you as the most memorable part of the experience?
I grew up in Washington, and a lot of my friends went to local colleges in Washington. So when we were shooting the graduation scene, we’re graduating from Washington State University—and a ton of my friends went there—so I was decked out in a graduation gown and stuff, so it was kind of a funny moment because it was a road that I could have taken going to that school. Here I am now, watching myself graduate on screen.
Do you feel any sort of connection to the Fifty Shades brand? Are you sitting at Starbucks and watching someone whip out the book, thinking that’s me?
I definitely do! I was just in the car driving to a meeting and I heard Ellie Goulding’s song from our soundtrack—they played it twice in 15 minutes—and it’s hard not to get excited about it. We’ve all worked so hard at this.