Filming Fifty Shades of Grey Was Insufferable for Dakota Johnson

Filming Fifty Shades of Grey Was Insufferable for Dakota Johnson
Image credit: Universal Pictures

Dakota Johnson firmly believes that no other actress would’ve agreed to star in her breakthrough franchise if they knew what it was going to be like in advance.

Fifty Shades of Grey launched Dakota Johnson ’s popularity and career sky-high even though it was far from the greatest franchise in the world. In fact, it was received horribly, and the three movies have 24%, 11%, and 11% scores on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively. Not the proudest achievement for a filmmaker, that’s for sure.

However, this didn’t affect Dakota Johnson’s future in the industry; if anything, Fifty Shades of Grey made her world-famous and opened one too many doors in front of her. The actress even received an MTV Awards nomination for Best Breakthrough Performance… So why did Johnson hate the filming of Shades so much?

Apparently, this had to do with the original book series author, Erika L. James. James had no clue about how to make movies but wanted to be in complete control of the set: she was constantly at war with director Taylor-Johnson and scrapped many scenes, scripts, and ideas entirely, insisting on her own bizarre versions.

“[James] had a lot of creative control, all day, every day, and she just demanded that certain things happen. 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 it out loud,” explains Dakota in her interview with Vanity Fair.

Erika L. James waged a war against the director, the writers, and the cast, always insisting on doing things her way. This was increasingly frustrating for everyone involved, and Dakota Johnson felt this war’s negative effects more than anyone since she was playing the main character — James’s self-insert.

“It was always a battle. Always… 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. 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,” Johnson admits.

Ultimately, the actress doesn’t feel that anyone else would’ve taken the offer if they knew just how “psychotic” the filming process would be. Dakota even claims that if she were to go back in time, she wouldn’t have joined the cast, either — however, since that’s impossible, she tries to not dwell on those crazy days too much.

Source: Vanity Fair