When watching the “Fifty The Shades trilogy was a less than pleasant experience at times, but making the films was downright “psychotic,” according to Dakota Johnson.
The actor, who starred alongside Jamie Dornan in the adaptations of EL James’ best-selling and bondage-heavy book series, described the struggles behind the scenes to bring “those big nude movies” to the big screen.
“I’m a sexual person, and when something interests me, I want to know so much about it,” Johnson said in a Vanity Fair cover story published Tuesday. “I signed on to do a very different version of the film that we ended up doing.”
“I was young. I was 23. So it was scary,” she added. “It just became something crazy. There were a lot of different disagreements. I’ve never been able to be honest about it, because you want to promote a film the right way.” , and I’m proud of what we ended up doing and everything is going the way it’s supposed to, but it’s been difficult.
Problems first arose when actor Charlie Hunnam left Fifty Shades of Gray due to scheduling conflicts. His exit resulted in Dornan coming on board to play the title role and James scrapping the original script.
Johnson said that the writer exercised “a lot of creative control all day, every day” over the production and “demanded certain things to happen.”
“There were parts of the books that just wouldn’t work in a movie, like the inner monologue that was incredibly cheesy at times,” she said. “It wouldn’t work to say it out loud. It was always a struggle. Always. “
Johnson and director Sam Taylor-Johnson made it their mission to salvage parts of the original script by rewriting certain scenes with old dialogue the night before shooting.
“We would shoot the film [E.L. James] wanted to make, and then we would do the shoots of the film that we wanted to make,” she explained. “It was like chaos the whole time.”
When Taylor-Johnson left the franchise after the first film, director James Foley was signed on to direct the two sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. Johnson somewhat cryptically described him as an “interesting man” who brought with him a “different energy.”
“There are things I still can’t say because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s career and reputation, but both Jamie and I have been treated really well,” Johnson said.
Despite long-standing rumors that she and Dornan clashed behind the scenes, Johnson insisted there was “never a time when we didn’t get along.”
“I know it’s weird, but he’s like a brother to me,” she remarked, explaining how they would protect each other on set by vetoing certain camera angles during sex scenes.
When asked if she had any regrets about being in the films, Johnson said, “If I had known at the time it was going to be like this, probably nobody would have done it. It would have been like, ‘Oh, that’s psychotic.’ But no, I don’t regret it.”
The actor eventually conceded that the trilogy was “great for our careers” but “so, so weird.”
The role actually put Johnson in the spotlight. She has appeared in decidedly more challenging films, including the horror remake Suspiria, the Oscar-nominated The Lost Daughter, and the re-release Cha Cha Real Smooth.
She is next seen in Netflix’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Olivia Wilde’s upcoming DC superhero film Madame Web.