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Dakota Johnson Talks About How ‘Psychotic’ the ‘50 Shades’ Production Was

Third-generation actor Dakota Johnson made her big break in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, and the series was a strange introduction for any actress—especially one so young.

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“I was young. I was 23. So it was scary,” Johnson tells Vanity Fair. “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.”

The big change came when Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) left the film and Jamie Dornan took the role of Christian Grey. That caused a lot of issues with Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James, who was furious when Hunnam left and scrapped the then-current script by playwright Patrick Marber.

“She had a lot of creative control, all day, every day, and she just demanded that certain things happen,” Johnson explained. “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.”

Sam Taylor-Johnson, the first film’s director, and others tried to salvage some of Marber’s script. But with James’s oversight, it meant doing a lot of extra work. “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,” Johnson says. “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.”

One of the best scenes in the movie, the contract negotiation scene, was left over from Marber’s draft of the script. Despite all this, Johnson doesn’t have regrets about the film: “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.”

And now Johnson has been making movies on her own terms, everything from romcoms to horror to the upcoming Jane Austen adaptation Persuasion. Whatever we may think of the source material, Johnson constantly elevated the material, and she gave us a lot of iconic memes.

(via Yahoo News, image: Doane Gregory /Universal Pictures)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.