Dakota Johnson Graduates from Fifty Shades Franchise to the Marvel Universe in Madame Web

Dakota Johnson Graduates from Fifty Shades Franchise to the Marvel Universe in Madame Web

Dakota Johnson Graduates from Fifty Shades Franchise to the Marvel Universe in Madame Web

Dakota Johnson is best known for playing protagonist Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades trilogy and now as a superhero in Marvel's Madame Web.

Her natural charisma makes her a standout talent in the entertainment industry. She is the daughter of popular actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. Golden Globe and Emmy winner Don Johnson was the biggest and sexiest TV star when he played Detective Sonny Crockett on the stylish 1980s cop show Miami Vice.

But, even though he was seen with a bevy of beautiful women and known as a hard-partying lothario, that was then. He now admits that Fifty Shades of Grey, which starred his daughter Dakota Johnson, is not his “kind of thing.” Johnson says of his daughter, “Dakota is a great actress. And, I’d love to work with her one day. But. we don't get involved in each other's careers, we're father and daughter.”


Dakota (34), who shares the same good looks of both her parents—Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith—has been carving out her own career, post-Fifty Shades, including: the crime drama Black Mass, the romantic comedy How to Be Single, the horror film Suspiria (2018), and the psychological drama The Lost Daughter. But, she’s now stepping out as Cassandra Webb, the lead character in Marvel’s new superhero flick, Madame Web. Dakota says Cassandra, who gets visions of the future after a near-death experience, is different than most superheroes, saying: “I hope that I did an OK job!”

Dakota rose to fame playing the sensitive but guileless Lit major Anastasia Steele who’s seduced by telecom magnate and enigmatic bachelor Christian Grey, and then enters an erotic pas de deux that attracted millions of fans around the world. She confesses, “I didn’t feel the material was off-putting.”

Sweet but very determined Dakota Johnson recalls her Fifty Shades audition and about diving into the Marvel superhero universe.


Why Did You Choose to Play a New Kind of Superhero in Madame Web?

When I got the script, I never really thought I could play a traditional superhero. But as I learned more about the character Cassandra Webb, I was intrigued by her special powers, which weren’t about her super strength or laser skills. I saw that her superpower was using her mind, and her clairvoyance, and I thought, Wow, I would love to see a young woman show that skill.

How Did You Handle the Action World of Marvel?

First, I’d never really done a movie using a blue screen, where you have to react to like fake explosions going off. It was so much fun. Also, I got to do some action stunts like driving a cab and even an ambulance. That was also so fun. But I tried to get them to let me drive a car into a restaurant…but they said it was too dangerous and wouldn’t let me!

Fifty Shades Changed Your Life, Do You Recall How the Audition Process Went?

I’d read the books, but auditioning was a long process. On the first few auditions, I did a monologue from Ingmar Bergman’s movie Persona, which is a little raw but with some depth. So, it allowed me to act out some. Then I did a bunch of readings with some really handsome actors. And then once I got the role, it was another while to get the actor opposite me. So, then another period of readings with more handsome actors…then actor Jamie Dornan turned up.

What Do You Personally Dig about Movies?

I love movies that are pretty out there and cool. But I also choose to work on movies that are kind at their heart. I love movies because you can lose yourself in other people’s experiences and lives. You can just disappear into another world—like the audience.

What’s Your Take on Sex in Movies?

[Laughs] If sex is dead in movies, it’s maybe because I killed it. In sex scenes in studio movies, people wear underwear, because sex and nudity makes people uncomfortable. Thing is, movies tell realistic and unrealistic stories, and sex is part of them both. And, if you respect it, then finding the artistry in sex for film won’t ever go away

What Did You Learn From Working with Johnny Depp on Black Mass?

Growing up, I knew Johnny Depp and he’d come to our place as he was friends with my dad and his close friend, writer Hunter Thompson. But working with Johnny was like being on a set with someone whose acting is so respected, and it made it a different kind of set to be on. It felt magical just being around his talent and a treat to work alongside someone who’s so gifted.

What Was Your Most Strenuous Training You’ve Done for a Movie?

For Suspiria, I started rehearsing German expressionist dance, and studying how aggressive it was and the total opposite of ballet. In ballet you’re going against gravity, while with this expressionist dance you’re going with it. And it’s very brutal. I strained muscles, threw my back out, my feet bled.

I remember I worked with a ballet coach and physical trainer, a year before shooting. I started to change the shape of my body. And, then we did rehearsals for 8 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. But it was so worth it.


Share this article

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

terms and condition.
  • Daniel Murray

    It's refreshing to see Dakota take on a different kind of superhero role in Marvel's Madame Web, using her mind and clairvoyance as powers rather than traditional superhero skills.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Daniel Murray

    Daniel, she's kind of a refreshing person, doesn't take herself too seriously. Although she has great acting genes. Cheers

  • Alexandra Janett

    Don Johnson's support for Dakota's career, despite not being a fan of Fifty Shades, speaks volumes about their professional boundaries as father and daughter. It's admirable that they don't get involved in each other's careers, allowing Dakota to carve her own path.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Alexandra Janett

    Don has been through some celebrity life, but seems to have found balance, and he will always rock those linen suits. BTW, catch Dakota on YT when she recently hosted Saturday Night Live. Cheers, Alexandra

  • Paul Lewis

    The insight into Dakota's audition process for Fifty Shades adds a personal touch to her journey. The commitment to her craft is evident, from performing a raw monologue to going through multiple readings. It's refreshing to learn about the extensive process that led to her landing the iconic role.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Paul Lewis

    Paul, she said there were some awfully good looking actors opposite her, until charming Irishman Jamie Dornan took it to another level for her. Thanks for comment, cheers

  • Helena V

    Dakota's perspective on sex in movies is intriguing. Her acknowledgment of the discomfort around sex and nudity in studio films is candid. It's a reminder of the fine balance between realism and storytelling in cinema, and how actors like Dakota contribute to the artistry of such scenes.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Helena V

    Yes, Helena, I found her take on sex in movies, very observant. Thanks for commenting. PS there's a scene in The Lover where the two people sit in back of car, not looking at each other, but you can feel the heat. And then their fingers touch, and it's just super sensual. Thanks for commenting.

  • Alex Patterson

    Working with Johnny Depp on Black Mass seems to have been a significant experience for Dakota. Her admiration for his talent and the magical atmosphere on set highlights the impact a seasoned actor can have on their co-stars.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Alex Patterson

    Alex, dandy Don and Johnny were pals, so Dakota saw Depp up close. Thanks for commenting.

  • Maria S

    The strenuous training Dakota underwent for Suspiria showcases her dedication to her craft. From German expressionist dance to changing her body shape, it's evident that she puts in the hard work required to bring authenticity to her roles.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Maria S

    Maria, she told us she went through torture, all for a good cause. Like a professional athlete, performers have to sacrifice for their art. Cheers

  • Mark Holmes

    Dakota's choice of movies that are both "out there and cool" but also "kind at their heart" reveals her commitment to meaningful storytelling. It's wonderful to see an actress who values the emotional depth of the narratives she chooses to be a part of.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Mark Holmes

    As she matures, she's probably going to emulate another (older) actress I just interviewed, Carey Mulligan, who has 3 Oscar nominations. Dakota could well move on up into those upper acting echelons. We shall see. Mark, thanks for commenting.

  • James Pereira

    The behind-the-scenes glimpse into Dakota's experience with blue screen technology and action stunts in Madame Web adds a fun element to this great interview. Dakota's desire to drive a car into a restaurant, albeit deemed too dangerous, shows her adventurous spirit on set. She is still iconic !

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: James Pereira

    I love when actors tell me how they react to blue screen, they really are acting but often with no scene partner. Thanks, James.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: James Pereira

    Working with green screen is real acting, sometimes with no one else to play off. It's why they call it acting, thanks for commenting. Cheers James.

Share this article

Ashley Jude Collie

Entertainment Expert

Ashley is an award-winning journalist/author/blogger who has written for Playboy, Toronto Star, Movie Entertainment, Sports Illustrated, Maclean's and others. He's interviewed various "leaders" in their fields, including: Oscar winners (Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Vikander, Jane Fonda, Mira Sorvino, Geena Davis, Anthony Hopkins); Grammy winners (Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Ice Cube, Pete Townshend); MVPs in sports (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky, Kobe Bryant); and, business leaders (Amazon's Jeff Bezos). He has an upcoming novel, REJEX, coming out on Pulp Hero Press. And he has written several episodic TV shows, appeared on CNN, and blogged for Mademan, Medium, GritDaily and HuffPost.

Cookies user prefences
We use cookies to ensure you to get the best experience on our website. If you decline the use of cookies, this website may not function as expected.
Accept all
Decline all
Read more
Tools used to analyze the data to measure the effectiveness of a website and to understand how it works.
Google Analytics