She is the daughter of Hollywood-Stars DonJohnson and Melanie Griffith. But this year will catapult 24 year old Dakota Johnson to her own stardom due to the highly talk about release of “Fifty Shades Darker” - the sequel to the “50 Shades of Grey”- in which she plays Anastasia Steel. In this interview, Dakota reveals how she deals with the pressure of having to be an instant
success and what she really thinks about making the controversial movie.
Dakota Mayi Johnson was born on October 4, 1989 in Austin, Texas. Growing up, Johnson was surrounded by celebrity. Her parents, Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, were one of Hollywood’s most recognizable stars of the ‘80s, and her maternal grandmother is actress Tippi Hedren. Johnson was also Antonio Banderas’ stepdaughter from her mother’s longtime marriage to the Spanish actor (the couple divorced in 2015).
Johnson grew up in Colorado but later attended schools in Monterey and Santa Monica, California. An avid dancer as a child, Johnson eventually pursued modeling before transitioning into acting. Her big screen debut was alongside her mom in Crazy in Alabama (1999). Post high school, Johnson appeared in a string of films including The Social Network (2010) and 21 Jump Street (2012) before landing her most pivotal role yet: playing Anastasia Steele in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey (2015).
It was “Fifty Shades of Grey” that catapulted her to fame. When she was asked about the pressure on being on that film she responded: “Not really. I always want to deliver good work. No matter what. It’s not any different with this project. But of course l understand the added spice with “50 Shades of Grey”. It was a worldwide bestseller after all. But I can assure you that the fans of the books won’t be disappointed. I think both movies (50 Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker) will fulfill all the expectations.”
“Once I found out that the movie was going to be made, I called my manager right away and tried to get an audition. At this point I hadn’t even read the books.” She stated after she was asked if she was the one actually pursuing this role.
When Dakota was asked that there were some wild rumors floating around that his father, Don Johnson, supposedly said that he won’t watch both movies because his daughter had some kinky scenes in the movie she answered: “I heard the same thing. I thought it was funny. My father and my mother are professionals. They’ve been in this business for ages. They support me in every possible way, and in all my professional decisions. I know that my mother read the books before I did and before this project was even in the planning. And I am almost certain both of my parents are very proud of my work and can’t wait to see the movies. Besides, in all honesty, the scenes weren’t that sexy while we were shooting them. It’s not a real romantic situation. There is a lot of technology involved on the set. And it’s extremely important to be able to trust the crew, your partner. Jamie (Dornan) was amazing. He’s just a great and wonderful person.”
In Fifty Shades Darker, we see Dakota and Jamie leading separate lives having called it a day, before being drawn back together through those shared interests. But not without a fight – and it isn’t your average tiff. Strong words, loud noises, and being restrained in handcuffs is all in a normal weekend for Ana and Christian.
Ana really explores herself, and this whole other world, in the first book. In the second book, Ana becomes a woman and that was a really interesting thing to play, Johnson added. She also thought that the movie was an incredible story. “It was such different content, so I wanted to be a part of it. The sort of woman she becomes; the strength, the grace and the honor she carries with her the whole time. I think she is an extraordinary woman and incredibly strong.”
Her chemistry with co-star Jamie Dornan was palpable throughout the movie. When asked about working with Dornan she replied: “Yes, it was so great working with him. It was the first time I had come back to a character and a cast. It was so special. You create a family and it was great to be back together. We had so much fun.” This time around Johnson was more relaxed, more at ease with her character and the pressure of making the sequel more attractive. “There was a bit of pressure removed, yes. We knew what we were getting into, so were definitely more comfortable. In some ways it was a longer haul, there was more work and a lot more to do, but it seemed like we were in capable hands and we knew what was going on more than the first time” she added.
Dakota received lots of critics after 50 Shades of Grey. The film scored a dismal 8 percent rating from critics surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes film site. On the other hand, audiences seem OK with it. The movie got a 70 percent rating from movie-goers. When she was asked if that bothered her she responded: “I don’t have Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, I don’t have too many friends, period! I am not the kind of person who can read bad things that people who don’t know me say, and have it like water off my back. It hurts my feelings. I’m not good at not letting it matter. For a while, I didn’t like to be involved with what people thought of me. But now the film is actually something that they can have an opinion about. It’s interesting to be involved with something that is controversial.” She also stated that she did not discuss the role with her parents. “No. But both my mother and grandmother (actress Tippi Hedren) are two women who have had shocking female roles, and I find it interesting that my mother has done similar work. They support me completely. They understand it’s acting and I’m not going to do this all the time. My father is supportive, although he’s not going to see it. In fact, none of them are.”
Dakota added that she got into acting because of her family. “I wanted to be involved in films because of their influence. As I grew up on set, I was surrounded by filmmakers and storytellers. So I feel like it is all because of them. They guided my taste and exposed me to different kinds of films and their favorite movies and introduced me to outlets in this industry. It’s all their fault!” SVM