Daughter of a talented couple such as Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson and with Antonio Banderas as her former stepfather, Dakota Johnson has grown up surrounded by art.
And since the day Dakota took the role of the popular character of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey in 2015, she has become a legitimate star and people’s idol. And one completely unafraid to talk about sex, which is understandable if we think of the theme of the Fifty Shades films.
“I love the woman body and I have a good relation with mine. My mother too didn’t hesitate to show hers, when she was my age, and beyond.”
“The only advise my mother gave me was to demand a close set for the sex scenes: me, my co-star, the director and the cameraman, that’s it. I did, and it worked.”
After recently breaking up with her boyfriend of two years, model-singer Matthew Hitt, Dakota declared – perhaps quipping over her new sequel, Fifty Shades Darker – that she’s keen to explore bisexuality. Not bad for a Hollywood patrician. Loaded met her to talk about the second film of the Fifty Shades trilogy, based on the best-selling novel by E.L. James, directed by James Foley.
loaded: Dakota, you and Anastasia are by now inseparable, is that the case?
Johnson: Let’s not get carried away! [laughs]. And yet as Anastasia I too tend to suffer terrible heartbreaks when it comes to love and the other sex. I feel like my heart is always broken. Call me over-sensitive, maybe I am. Sense and sensibility is everything to me. I’m an Austen being!
loaded: Is that why you’re currently single?
Johnson: And happy to be so… But I guess it’s just a rite of passage, which I’m actually enjoying. I want to learn how to be on my own. For a little while…I like guys too much, I’m afraid.
loaded: Switching to more serious matters: we know you shot Fifty Shades Darker partly in France, and you were in Nice the day of the tragic attack last July 14. Mind to share your thoughts with us?
Johnson: It was terrible, but fortunately none of us was on the promenade that night. Cast and crew were okay. We were filming on that very spot, the promenade, just the day before. And yet I have fond memories of Southern France, the Riviera, the Mediterranean Coast, such beautiful places.
loaded: What did you find different and exciting in the second Fifty Shades?
Johnson: For me it was intriguing the fact that in the first film we had to set up the story and the characters, while this second chapter is more focused on Anastasia’s psychological and narrative arch, her discovery of who is she as a woman, her sexual journey if you wish. This second movie is more focused on the details and the relations between these two people. And let’s not forget that this is a trilogy – though about the third film I’m going to be absolutely mum! [laughs]
loaded: How did your life changed in these last two years?
Johnson: Beyond the obvious fact that now I’m getting interviewed and dissected, not much. Well, okay, I’m now aware that I’m in a position in which I can carry a conversation with people I admire, and feel equal. We can talk about what they are doing, and what I am doing. And I can dream of working with them. I feel I belong.
loaded: You’re are considered sort of Hollywood aristocrat, given your origin. How was your childhood?
Johnson: More normal than you might expect. Mom and dad were very busy as actors when I was small, and yet we were a close-knit family. An artistic family, sure, with its own weirdness and eccentricity, but not much different from other artistic families. The silver lining is that Hollywood doesn’t feel odd to me: that’s where I grew up. Having movie stars over for dinner was normal for me. Though, as I aforementioned, I now feel a legitimate part of it.
loaded: How did you prepare for the role of Anastasia, aka Ana?
Johnson: To me it was important that Ana’s body would remind that of a very active and dynamic college student. If I had to show my body au naturelle, I needed to be tight and toned. And yes, way more shaved than a real woman needs to be!
loaded: What do you like about Anastasia?
Johnson: I’m fascinated by her self-awareness. Ana knows exactly who she is. I see young women who want to experience things because they think it’s an obligation, like wearing different masks and personalities, forgetting who they really are. The loss of virginity is the most profound thing for a woman, and Ana face this moment with courage and passion. That’s why I admire her, and I love to give her a face.
loaded: What’s Eros for you?
Johnson: Eros to me is like art, it’s like a painting on canvas, a beautiful body, as shape and content, not as an object. Eros to me is to be traced in art, rather than in real life. The remnant is love. And endless, sometimes sweet pain.
Thanks, Dakota, for speaking to loaded. Fifty Shades Darker is out on February 10.
Credit: Samantha Reyes / The Interview People