Dakota Johnson approached her Fifty Shades of Grey role with a working knowledge of Anastasia Steele and of the book on which the film would be based, as might be expected, but Dakota felt that something more was needed to make Fifty Shades of Grey a success: humor.
Meanwhile, Director of Fifty Shades of Grey, Sam Taylor-Johnson was looking for something else, which he reveals to Elle, as he explains his choice of Dakota Johnson for the role of Anastasia Steele.
“There had to be a sense of wide-eyed, excitable curiosity, but grounded in a worldliness. She had to have an inner strength that would carry her through the darkest of moments. I knew straightaway that Dakota was the girl.”
The combination of what the Fifty Shades of Grey director was looking for with what Dakota felt she needed to bring to her role launched Fifty Shades of Grey and its stars into unfettered success. There’s no doubt that the film, which has spawned future sequels, including the in-production Fifty Shades Darker, delivers audiences into a dark tale of sex and dominance, but Ms. Johnson says there’s more to be found there for those wise enough to see it.
“I needed Anastasia to be funny,” Ms. Johnson said. “If you can’t laugh during a movie like that, you’re f—–. Literally. You need to have something that everyone can relate to.”
Dakota is no stranger to comedy, having previously starred in a number of comedies, including Goats (2012) and Date and Switch (2014), so it seemed only natural that the Fifty Shades of Grey actress should bring some humor to such a darkly serious role. Johnson also had experience ad-libbing in a comedy environment on the set of The Five-Year Engagement(2012), proving that she can think on her toes.
Many of Dakota’s fans are wondering about the next sequel and Ms. Johnson’s return, since there hasn’t been much revealed about Fifty Shades Darker. People magazine reports that salary negotiations for the Fifty Shades Darker actors are being negotiated, while a release for Fifty Shades Darker has tentatively been set for Valentine’s Day 2017 with the third installment scheduled for one year later.
In the meantime, a first teaser has already been released to excite fans and keep all eyes mesmerized by Dakota Johnson and her co-star, Jamie Dornan.
Along with the Fifty Shades Darker teaser, Universal Studios executives commented that the second film will be more of a thriller than Fifty Shades of Grey was.
Dakota’s thoughts on her Fifty Shades of Grey character came in an interview conducted by Elle, as the magazine included Ms. Johnson in their “Women In Hollywood” covers. Of the eight covers, Ava DuVernay, Carey Mulligan, Gena Rowlands, Alicia Vikander, and Kate Winslet each posed more conservatively, while Amy Schumer, Dakota Johnson, and Salma Hayek bared a bit more cleavage.
Being chosen to grace the cover of Elle magazine is just another sign that Ms. Johnson has overcome the failures of her past to achieve great success. Having always eyed a career in Hollywood, Dakota starred in the 1999 film Crazy in Alabama, alongside her half-sister, Stella Banderas, and real-life mother, Melanie Griffith. The film was a box office flop and chased Dakota back to school until 2006, when Ms. Johnson pursued a brief modeling career and was voted Miss Golden Globe.
— Access Hollywood (@accesshollywood) April 23, 2015
Dakota signed with IMG Models, while she finished high school, and returned to acting in 2009, signing with the William Morris Agency. This time, success was on Ms. Johnson’s side with her role in The Social Network (2010) and the film’s eight Oscar nominations led to greater roles for Dakota.
Currently, Dakota Johnson can be seen starring opposite Johnny Depp in Black Mass.
[Featured image: Dakota Johnson courtesy of Victor Boyko/Getty Images for Harry Winston]