In the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey fan backlash, it seems like all of Hollywood -- Brad Pitt! Olivia Wilde! -- has come out swinging for Charlie Hunnam, defending him as an impressive choice for Christian Grey. At the same time, buzz on Dakota Johnson has been a little slower to come out. Maybe a bit less, well, fervent. (Sure, Melanie Griffith has raved about and defended her daughter on Twitter, but hello, winning her mom's vote is a given!)
Thankfully, those in the know have begun wagging their tongues about how the rising star will bring Anastasia Steele to the big screen, and what they have to say about Dakota is definitely intriguing. Here, five eyebrow-raising insider insights on Dakota as an actress and how she'll fare in her big new gig ...
1. She's been so often cast as a character with sexual confidence, it may be difficult for her to play naive. One Hollywood casting director, who asked to remain anonymous, told The New York Post she was “definitely a little surprised” by the decision to cast Johnson. “It’ll be challenging to make Dakota believable as an innocent when it comes to sex and men. All of Dakota’s prominent roles to date have been extremely sexual. She’s even played the mom of a 6-year-old! So I’m a bit dubious as to whether she’s really right for this role,” says the casting director. Ouch!
2. However, she's been in the habit of altering misconceptions and preconceptions about who she is. The casting director goes on to say, "But I also think she’s been surprising everyone with her work so far. There’s always a great amount of skepticism about a model-turned-actor -- especially one with famous parents -- but I think she’s proven herself to have more skill and depth than was expected of her, and she’s definitely been choosing smart projects to build a possibly long-lasting career." Interesting!
3. She's made quite the impression on her male co-stars … Well, at least Penn Bagdley. Her current co-star told E! recently: "Dakota's wonderful. ... I'm sure she's gonna nail [the role], no pun intended."
4. Even her stepdad has her back. Antonio Banderas told The Independent recently about his step-daughter learning she had scored the role: "[Dakota] was very happy, very cautious at the same time, because she knows she's got a lot of work to do. It's a movie that's going to be watched by everybody who likes the book, especially women. So let's see. ... I wasn't in the country so I picked up the phone, called her, and said, 'Congratulations, you deserve this opportunity.'" Sweet!
5. She can do funny. Dana Fox, creator of the short-lived sitcom Ben & Kate that starred Dakota, notes, "She used to do physical comedy stuff for us that was like Lucille Ball. I try not to fall into writing scenes where gorgeous girls have to trip and fall so they’ll be likable -- but she had that thing, so we’d use it. ... She was like, ‘I’ll do whatever it takes to make this funny.’” Good to know, because given how intense Fifty Shades is, there will HAVE to be moments of comic relief ... and it sounds like Dakota may be able to carry them.
6. And smart and sexy, to boot! Daniel Barnz, who directed Dakota in the 2011 movie Beastly, notes, “She has this combination of natural intelligence and this sort of appealingly unconscious sexuality which make her an inspired choice for the part. ... If you’re going to do this kind of thing, you have to make people care about the emotion of the character. Otherwise, it’ll just be sort of ... porny. If anyone can pull that off, it’s her.” Wow!
What do you think about these endorsements about Dakota?
Image via Splash News