E L James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey
E L James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey

The film version of EL James' best-selling erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, now has a release date. A Facebook post by Focus Features announced 1 August, 2014 as the red letter day.

According to the announcement, the film will release in North America first, with release dates for the rest of the world yet to be announced. Universal Pictures International will distribute the movie internationally.

British visual artist and filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson will be directing the movie. Screenwriter Kelly Marcel wrote the script, with Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca set to produce alongside James.

Fifty Shades of Grey's casting has been the cause of much speculation but so far the coveted roles of Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele have not yet been announced. The good news is that insiders have revealed fans may not have to wait much longer.

"A reveal of the cast is currently planned for Comic-Con," a source told Hollywood Life. The 44th annual Comic-Con International event at San Diego will kick off on 18 July and will run through 21 July.

Meanwhile, Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder has long been a fan-favourite for the role of Grey and the 33-year-old has spoken of the character and hinted he is keen to take up the role.

"One can never get bored of people asking about a huge project," he told Metro, "Everyone has to realise every guy in Hollywood is up for this role. It could be anyone - that's how that goes."

Twilight star Robert Pattinson recently sparked rumours he has been chosen to play the lead role after inviting James to a party he was hosting.

As the search continues for Grey's partner, Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence is reportedly the favourite pick. Meanwhile, former Harry Potter star Emma Watson openly denied reports that she is part of the cast.