Dakota Johnson, Priestess of High Chaos, Said Making ‘Those Big Naked Movies’ Was ‘Psychotic’

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the actor spilled the tea on Fifty Shades of Grey and her experience working with E.L. James.

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Dakota Johnson, Priestess of High Chaos, Said Making ‘Those Big Naked Movies’ Was ‘Psychotic’
Photo:Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images (Getty Images)

Dakota Johnson, star of everyone’s least favorite smutty fanfic-inspired trio of erotica films, Fifty Shades of Grey, is finally speaking out about her experience on set in an interview with Vanity Fair.

Johnson, who was a budding actor at the time and played Anastasia Steele, says she signed up for a “very different” movie than the one that was ultimately made. Not only was there confusing feedback from the studio and the film’s directors, she says, but E.L. James, author of the book series and co-producer of the films, “had a lot of creative control, all day, everyday.” Johnson found James’s vision for the films “incredibly cheesy,” featuring cringe-inducing inner monologues that Johnson didn’t think would work if you actually said them out loud.

Johnson also remembered that James had thrown out a script after actor Charlie Hunnam, who was initially cast in the role of BDSM billionaire buttmunch Christian Grey, dropped out of the project. He was later replaced by Jamie Dorman, who is a talented actor, sure, but whose portrayal of Christian Grey has left me distrustful of all men in suits who stare blankly at me.

Johnson also admitted that she and her castmates filmed scenes multiple ways: one set to appease James’s creative vision, and another set for “the movie that we wanted to make.” Sounds like she was hoping for high art, and instead got a tradwife’s fantasy??? The process of filming “those big naked movies” felt like “mayhem all the time,” she added, saying that behind the scenes, filming was “always a battle.”

“The night before, I would rewrite scenes with the old dialogue so I could add a line here and there. It was like mayhem all the time,” she told Vanity Fair, noting that the one scene that was not under James’s creative control, in which she and Dornan lay out their sexual contract, was “the best scene in the whole movie.”

“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,” she said. “[James] is a very nice woman, and she was always kind to me and I’m grateful she wanted me to be in those movies…it was great for our careers. So amazing. So lucky. But it was weird. So, so weird.”

Also “so, so weird,” Johnson said she was recently at a party where guests were talking about the metaverse, to which responded, “‘I have a couple of NFTs.’And they said, ‘Oh really? What do you have?’ I said, ‘Nice fucking titties.’” I mean, true.

Look, strangely, I think Dakota Johnson is the perfect celebrity. Her film trajectory makes zero sense. She pops up every now and again on film publicity tour being a real fucking weirdo, and when she makes the news, it’s always entertaining. Take, for example, the time she allegedly locked Blue Bottle customers inside a store, pulled a rope out of her bag, tied the doors shut and demanded baristas allow her to make drinks behind the counter, allegedly filming for Vogue (she has not confirmed this story).

She talked shit to Ellen DeGeneres on her own show, setting the record straight when accused of not inviting Ellen to a party. She lied about limes (once saying in an interview that she “loves limes,” only to say in another interview that she’s allergic to limes??). And she thinks “humans are so fucking weird.” Indeed, Dakota. Indeed.

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