Actress Dakota Johnson was thrust into the spotlight when she was cast as Anastasia Steele in the 2015 film “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The film, the first of a trilogy that included “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed,” was written by E.L. James and became known for its steamy BDSM scenes. Johnson starred opposite Jamie Dornan and his character of the billionaire Christian Grey.
The first movie was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, while the 2017 and 2018 follow-ups put director James Foley at the helm. In a new cover story for Vanity Fair, Johnson revealed that she ended up filming a very different movie than she originally signed on for and alleged that it was “psychotic” behind the scenes.
Dakota Johnson Says Making ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Was ‘Always A Battle’
Johnson admitted that she “signed up to do a very different version of the film we ended up making” and attributed some of the struggles in production to the author herself. Johnson alleged that James had “a lot of creative control,” adding that, “all day, every day … she just demanded that certain things happen.”
The 32-year-old actress pointed out that “There were parts of the books that just wouldn’t work in a movie, like the inner monologue, which was at times incredibly cheesy. It wouldn’t work to say out loud.”
“It was always a battle,” she added. “Always.”
“The Lost Daughter” star said that things took a turn for the worst when Charlie Hunnam, who had originally been cast as Christian Grey, dropped out of the project. At that point, Johnson alleged that James tossed the script that had been created by playwright Patrick Marber in favor of her own ideas.
Dakota Johnson Describes The Movies As ‘Mayhem All The Time’
Although there are always scenes that end up on the cutting room floor, Johnson revealed that they filmed two takes of each scene: takes that the author wanted and takes that the producers wanted.
“We’d do the takes of the movie that [James] wanted to make, and then we would do the takes of the movie that we wanted to make,” Johnson said, admitting that she made her own changes to the script. “The night before, I would rewrite scenes with the old dialogue so I could add a line here and there,” she added. “It was like mayhem all the time.”
Johnson said that “it was scary” signing onto a movie when she was only 23 years old, saying, “I was young. I was 23. So it was scary.”
The “Ben and Kate” star said that filming the trilogy “just became something crazy” and noted that “there were a lot of different disagreements” behind the scenes.
“I haven’t been able to talk about this truthfully ever, because you want to promote a movie the right way, and I’m proud of what we made ultimately and everything turns out the way it’s supposed to, but it was tricky,” she added.
Despite speculation that she didn’t get along with her costar Jamie Dornan, Johnson said that “there was never a time when we didn’t get along.” She said that he is “like a brother” to her and the two learned to “trust” and “protect” one another while filming.
‘There Are Things That I Still Cannot Say Because I Don’t Want To Hurt Anyone’s Career’
After Sam Taylor-Johnson was replaced by a male director for the last two films, Johnson noted that there was a “different energy” on set and said that it was “different doing those bizarre things” with a man behind the camera.
“There are things that I still cannot say because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s career and I don’t want to damage anybody’s reputation, but both Jamie and I were treated really well,” Johnson said.
She also called E.L. James “a very nice woman, and she was always kind to me and I am grateful she wanted me to be in those movies.”
Dakota Johnson said that she doesn’t regret doing the film, but did confess, “If I had known at the time that’s what it was going to be like, I don’t think anyone would’ve done it. It would’ve been like, ‘Oh, this is psychotic.’ But no, I don’t regret it.”