Atonement and Anna Karenina director Joe Wright has emerged as the frontrunner according to THR. It may seem like an odd choice because he's normally associated with historical romances, but Wright has shown his diversity with the contemporary assassin film Hanna. The less said about The Soloist the better. Other names on the list are Bennett Miller (Capote), and Patty Jenkins (Monster), suggesting that the studios are looking for refined filmmakers rather than someone who can just crank out something quickly. If anything, it's a sign that Universal and Focus Features are taking the adaptation seriously, even if 'Grey' has become something of a national punchline at this point.
So we'll see what happens, but with this news it's probably just a matter of time before a decision is made on who will play Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.