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E.L. James talks 'Fifty Shades of Grey' on 'Today'

"I am constantly overwhelmed and shocked by the success of this book," the writer said.

By Annie Martin
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E.L. James talks 'Fifty Shades of Grey' on 'Today'
E.L. James arrives on the red carpet at the 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' New York Fan First screening at Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City on February 6, 2015. Photo by Dennis Van Tine/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- E.L. James was surprised by the success of Fifty Shades of Grey.

The 51-year-old writer admitted as much in an interview with Today on Thursday. James is the author behind the bestselling erotic novel and its sequels, and discussed the book and its upcoming film adaptation with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford.

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"I am constantly overwhelmed and shocked by the success of this book," the writer related. "[The inspiration] came from lots of places; it came from reading things, it came from my imagination, it came from a little bit of life experience."

"I didn't know if I wanted to do [a film adaptation] or not," she confessed. "I was always concerned about how the sex would be treated. I wanted it to be tasteful, that was my concern. I think after lots of work, we got it there. There's definitely heat [between stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan]."

Fifty Shades of Grey follows the relationship between college student Anastasia (Johnson) and Christian (Dornan), a businessman with a predilection for BDSM. James introduced a new clip on the morning program that sees Anastasia discover Christian's infamous Red Room of Pain.

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Fifty Shades of Grey was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, and opens in theaters February 13. The film's content has caused controversy, and the movie was banned in Malaysia this week. U.S. groups are also calling for a boycott, claiming the story glamorizes abusive relationships.

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