Safe words at the ready: Dakota Johnson’s Anastasia Steele is about to meet her Mr Grey.
After the hype surrounding Wednesday’s world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, at which Johnson dazzled in a daring low-cut black dress, cinema-goers and fans of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy can now finally indulge in what has turned out to be one of the fastest-selling rated-R movies in online ticketing history.
Despite her apprehensions in taking on the role of the virginal Miss Steele — seduced by Jamie Dornan’s damaged, BDSM-practicing Christian Grey — Dakota saw beyond the obvious attractions and hazards of the film to the true content, the love story, at its core. Ironic, considering many critics now see Johnson as FSOG’s golden heart at the center of a rather disappointing movie indeed. Reuters even went so far as to deem the film “unwatchable” if not for its leading lady.
Although W magazine recently ran a photo spread of racy pictures of Dakota and previous Calvin Klein model Dornan in various relaxed and reclining poses, it has been rumored that the two didn’t really get along, just as director Sam Taylor-Johnson is said to have come to logger-heads with FSOG’s creator. Perhaps this tension has contributed to the generally poor reception of a film all about control, or perhaps it is the “risible” dialogue of Kelly Marcel’s script.
For 25-year-old Johnson — who has acting in her blood, being the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, the granddaughter of Tippi Hendren, and the former stepdaughter of Antonio Banderas — FSOG is her breakthrough role. She’s certainly come a long way from her debut in the 1999 movie Crazy In Alabama, directed by Banderas. As a child, Dakota dreamed of being a mermaid, a vet, and other fluid hopes; now, she’s embraced the lead in an adaptation of a series that has been an “almost exclusively female phenomenon.” Strange in this post-feminist era when, as the Daily Mirror reported, due to one man’s “unique interests,” Johnson’s character endures the most unusual loss of virginity in fiction.
Next up for FSOG’s true heart, Dakota can be seen in the crime drama Black Mass alongside superstars Johnny Depp and Benedict Cumberbatch. A meteoric rise come from Johnson’s courage to take on a role turned down by Felicity Jones, Elizabeth Olsen, and Imogen Poots, among others; a role all about the climax.
Dakota Johnson is certainly one to watch now. For that alone, maybe a trip to see Fifty Shades of Grey at the cinema this Valentine’s weekend isn’t such a bad idea after all.
[Image courtesy of Mike Coppola/Getty Images]