Australian actress Bella Heathcote has been cast as Christian Grey's ex-girlfriend Leila Williams in the sequel to box office hit Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker.

Heathcote, whose other credits include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Dark Shadows, joins returning stars Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) and Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele) in the film. News of her deal broke on film industry website Deadline.com. Oscar-winner Kim Basinger also joined the cast last month.

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson

Fifty Shades Darker and its sequel, Fifty Shades Freed, will both be directed by House of Cards director James Foley. His other credits include the David Mamet adaptation Glengarry Glen Ross and the Sean Penn-starring thriller At Close Range

Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed are being shot back-to-back, with ...Darker due for release in February 2017 and ...Freed following a year later. 

The scripts for both films have been written by Newry man Niall Leonard, the husband of Fifty Shades... author EL James. Fifty Shades of Grey took over $570m at the global box office.

EL James and Niall Leonard