Universal and Focus had bagged the rights to the 'Fifty Shades' trilogy for USD 5 million in March after a heated Hollywood bidding war.
The books, about a torrid love affair between a college student and a mysterious billionaire, have sold 31 million e-book and print copies worldwide, the Hollywood Reporter said.
"At its core, 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is a complex love story, requiring a delicate and sophisticated hand to bring it to the big screen. Mike and Dana's credits more than exemplify what we need in creative partners, and we're glad to have them as part of our team," said Universal co-chairman Donna Langley in a statement.
James said, "I am thrilled that Mike has joined Team Fifty. He brings a passion for and in-depth understanding of the characters and story and a wealth of experience in making quality films."