Dakota Johnson is enjoying the recent success of Fifty Shades of Grey and recovering from an awkward Oscar red-carpet appearance with her mom Melanie Griffith. As a fresh face with a lot of press, there is bound to be a lot of attention focused on her first outing as host of Saturday Night Live.
Writing in Entertainment Weekly, Hillary Busis gave a preemptive strike against low expectations for Johnson. Busis says the 25-year-old was the best part of Fifty Shades and her past sitcom experience shows she has comedic timing. The columnist denies this SNL episode will rank as one of the show's worst, as some of her colleagues claim.
Johnson is also getting another kind of support tonight. Her parents, actress Griffith and former Miami Vice star Don Johnson were spotted in an airport by The Daily Mail. They were reportedly on their way to cheer on Dakota as she steps onto the SNL stage. Griffith and Johnson were joined by Don's wife Kelley Phleger and Melanie's children Stella Banderas and Alexander Bauer.
Johnson, 65 and Griffith, 57, first started dating when Griffith was 14. The two famously married twice and divorced twice. Dakota is their only child together.
Dakota's role in Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie based on the bestselling novel, has been a breakthrough for the young actor. Busis says Johnson was "by far the best thing about [the movie]," even if the film itself is not of Oscar quality. The box office receipts prove it to have been a success. The $90 million total for Fifty's opening weekend is the highest Presidents' Day opening ever.
Johnson's upcoming film Cymbeline, co-starring Boyhood star and Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actor, Ethan Hawke, sees her go undercover as a man. MTV describes her character's situation as being in the middle of a "'Sons of Anarchy' style outlaw war." It is based on the Shakespeare play Cymbeline with modern updates.
When Dakota Johnson takes the stage at studio 8H tonight to host SNL, it won't be her first time there. In addition to this week's rehearsals for the program, she participated in SNL's 40th anniversary special on February 15. She was an audience plant in a Q&A with comedian Jerry Seinfeld, during which she plugged her SNL hosting duties and made a Fifty Shades of Grey-themed joke.
Busis anticipates many more Fifty Shades jokes tonight, and possibly a tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy.
SNL airs on NBC.
[Melanie Griffith and Dakota Johnson at the 87th Annual Academy Awards: Getty Images]