Years after the release of the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie, Dakota Johnson is ready to be honest about how rough it was to make the films behind the scenes. Dakota spoke candidly to Vanity Fair about the creative clashes on set, saying that while she doesn’t regret making the films, if she had known how “psychotic” the process would be, “I don’t think anyone would’ve done it.” She also shut down media rumors that she and her co-star Jamie Dornan had any bad blood or secret feud.
“There was never a time when we didn’t get along,” she said of Jamie. “I know it’s weird, but he’s like a brother to me. I love him so, so, so much. And we were really there for each other. We had to really trust each other and protect each other.”
As far as Fifty Shades itself, Dakota said she signed onto what was supposed to be a very different film. “I’m a sexual person, and when I’m interested in something, I want to know so much about it,” she started. “That’s why I did those big naked movies. I signed up to do a very different version of the film we ended up making.” The studio, directors, and book’s author E.L. James, who goes by Erika, all created issues, Dakota confirmed.
“She [James] had a lot of creative control, all day, every day, and she just demanded that certain things happen,” Dakota said. “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. Always. When I auditioned for that movie, I read a monologue from Persona [the Ingmar Bergman classic from 1966] and I was like, ‘Oh, this is going to be really special.’”
But when Charlie Hunnam, who was initially cast as Christian Grey, dropped out of the film, James was so enraged, Dakota told Vanity Fair, that she scrapped the script.
“I was young. I was 23. So it was scary,” she said of her three-film contract. “It just became something crazy. “There were a lot of different disagreements. 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.” In fact, Dakota, along with the first film director Sam Taylor-Johnson and Jamie, tried to salvage some of the original script.
“We’d do the takes of the movie that Erika wanted to make, and then we would do the takes of the movie that we wanted to make,” Dakota said. “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.” Dakota said the one original scene that made it into the film was when Anastasia and Christian outlined her sexual contract. “And it’s the best scene in the whole movie.”
Dakota told Vanity Fair that she doesn’t regret making the film. “I don’t think it’s a matter of regret. If I had known…,” she started, trailing off. “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.”
You can read Dakota’s full interview here.
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