The Trophy Wife star will appear in the film as Christian Grey's mother, Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey. The actress admitted to Entertainment Weekly that the role required some preparation, "When I was cast in it, I hadn't read it yet, so I did download it and I did shame-read it." She also joked that she conducted some online research that she would prefer not to elaborate on.
The bestselling 50 Shades erotic book series focuses on the relationship between Anastasia Steele, a 21-year-old college student, and her potential boss, 27-year-old entrepreneur Christian Grey. The relationship becomes highly sexual in nature, and the series caused waves with its depictions of BDSM between the pair. 50 Shades of Grey will bring the first novel to life.
The sexually-charged plot has led some to speculate over the film's content, but Harden said her experience on set was not as scandalous as some might think, "I play Mama Grey, so it's like, unless you're in the red playroom with a toy in your hand and flesh on your face, it's sort of like any other movie that you could do."
Harden went on to say that her role in the film created a newfound fascination with the series and its subject matter for her. "The story is so intriguing, and I think so many people have read it, and it is erotic... I like looking and thinking, 'Why did we anthropologically select for erotic pleasure in pain?' It's really interesting to me. And E L James has the answer."
50 Shades of Grey will debut in theaters in February 2015. The film, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, will star actress Dakota Johnson as Steele, and actor Jamie Dornan as Grey.