Hailing from acting royalty (her father is Miami Vice’s Don Johnson, and her mother is Golden Globe winning actress, Melanie Griffiths), Dakota Johnson’s previous film credits have comprised of relatively minor roles… Until now. The global phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey is about to propel the actress to full-scale universal fame.
We grabbed five minutes with her to speak about feminism, THAT Red Room, and the Fifty Shades sequels. What did we discover? Smart, witty, laid-back... Prepare to fall in love with Dakota Johnson.
ELLE: Have you become used to how crazy the Fifty Shades fans are?
Dakota Johnson: I don’t think its something you ever get used to. If you do, you have a problem. But it’s definitely cool to be involved with something that people are so excited about.
ELLE: You made the character of Anastacia very funny….
DJ: When I read the book I found humour in it; so, I wanted to amplify the comedic bits so that you would find relief from the really intense moments. You have to be able to laugh a little, because it’s all so crazy.
ELLE: How important was it to make Anastacia empowered?
DJ: That was the biggest thing, really. It was really important for her to maintain her strength. She’s a woman of incredible self-worth, and she goes through something so profound, this insane journey. I don’t see her as a weak person, or a victim at all. I wanted people to leave the room feeling a bit more empowered.
ELLE: Are you a feminist?
DJ: Yes, and I think the character of Anastacia is too.
ELLE: How do you think the film is going to affect wider representations of sex?
DJ: I don’t know yet, but I’m excited to see how it goes. If anything, I hope that it’s a vessel for women to be not so ashamed of their sexuality, and their bodies. I think women are beautiful and should be more proud of themselves.
ELLE: How did you prepare for the role?
DJ: Anastasia is completely new to everything that happens to her in the film. I wanted it to be a genuine experience. In the same way, I’d never seen the red room before until the moment that I first see it in the film. While filming, if I was ever walking by, they would close off the set. The red room was so beautiful; it’s so wild. Everything down to the most minor details is perfect. All the drawers and all the cupboards had things in them, and there were vials and bottles filled with stuff; it’s all real.
ELLE: Did you and Jamie have fun filming in the red room?
DJ: We would joke around at all times, with all the equipment. There are some crazy things in there that I didn’t even know existed! There are certain chairs for certain positions. One of them is a tiny little leather chair that looks like it belongs at the gynecologist.
ELLE: Is there a lot of giggling?
DJ: Yes, there’s a lot. I had giggle fits all the time, especially on set. But there’s not any room for it to be awkward, because that would waste a lot of time. We got so comfortable with each other that it didn’t matter anymore.
ELLE: What’s next for you?
DJ: The next film I’m doing is a comedy with lots of incredible actresses, and I’m just excited for that. It’s called How To Be Single.
ELLE: There seems to be surge of all-female casts and great roles for women in Hollywood at the moment…
DJ: I agree. It’s so exciting, and it’s great to feel supported as a woman.
ELLE: With the rumours on potential Fifty Shades sequels, would you be up for returning as Anastacia?
DJ: Of course; I would love to.