Dakota Johnson has always hinted that her experience filming 50 Shades of Grey left much to be desired — and now, she’s finally opening up about it!
Nearly a decade after her career-making turn as Anastasia Steele, the actress got candid about what it took to make the hit franchise come to life, and admitted the shooting was way more exhausting than it needed to be.
Why? Well, apparently, author E.L. James was cracking the whip a bit too much. Johnson confessed to Vanity Fair:
“I signed up to do a very different version of the film we ended up making.”
The 32-year-old explained that it “was always a battle” with James on set, like the author wanting Dakota’s character to say her inner monologue — which the actress said could be “incredibly cheesy” — out loud. She added:
“She 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 out loud. It was always a battle. Always.”
Johnson said the film’s direction really changed after Charlie Hunnam decided to exit as Christian Grey, which allegedly spurred James to scrap Patrick Marber‘s script — and make the movie she wanted to make, much to the chagrin of everyone else, according to Dakota.
Related: Dakota Gives Rare Comment On ‘Cozy And Private’ Relationship With Chris Martin
The starlet explained:
“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.”
The actress noted that scene where Anastasia and Christian negotiate her sexual contract in the first film is the last hint of Marber’s work, and Dakota still thinks that’s “the best scene in the whole movie.”
So it sounds like there really was a lot of chaos on these sets — but said chaos apparently didn’t stem from the rumors of a feud between Johnson and her eventual co-star, Jamie Dornan, like we initially thought.
She said of the actor:
“There was never a time when we didn’t get along. I know it’s weird, but he’s like a brother to me. I love him so, so, so much. And we were really there for each other. We had to really trust each other and protect each other.”
Dakota went on to reflect on another shakeup when coming back for the second film, as she had to navigate a “different energy” that came from having a different (read: male) director behind the camera. She shared:
“Sam [Taylor-Johnson] didn’t come back to direct after the first movie, and, as a female, she had brought a softer perspective. James Foley came on to direct, and he’s an interesting man. It was different doing those bizarre things with a man behind the camera. Just a different energy.”
Johnson admitted that even though she hasn’t “been able to talk about this truthfully ever” because of movie promotion, she’ll never share the full story:
“There are things that I still cannot say because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s career and I don’t want to damage anybody’s reputation, but both Jamie and I were treated really well. Erika is a very nice woman, and she was always kind to me and I am grateful she wanted me to be in those movies.”
And while Johnson is “proud of what we made ultimately,” she wouldn’t necessarily do it again. She admitted:
“If I had known at the time that’s what it was going to be like, I don’t think anyone would’ve done it. It would’ve been like, ‘Oh, this is psychotic.’ But no, I don’t regret it.”
All we’ll say is… ouch!
[Image via Universal Pictures]