- Career Timeline
- Season 1
- Episode 94
Dakota Johnson Breaks Down Her Career, from 'Fifty Shades of Grey' to 'The Lost Daughter'
Released on 06/28/2022
My parents, especially my dad, really wanted me to go
to college, but I didn't, I wanted to work
and I didn't feel like I was the kind
of person that could learn what I wanted to do
by being in a classroom.
I think they knew that they couldn't really stop me.
Hi, I'm Dakota Johnson
and this is the timeline of my career.
Oh my babies, I missed you so much. Oh my God.
Sandra, you taking care of Marilyn for me?
Yeah mama, I am.
Crazy In Alabama, I was nine and my stepfather directed
the movie and my mom starred in it
and I played her daughter.
And I still remember all my lines
'cause I only had like two or three of them
but I took it very seriously and like,
demanded that I have time with the vocal coach. [laughs]
That was really fun.
Except my little sister also was played,
my mom's youngest daughter and she was a baby.
She was like, one and a half maybe?
And every time Antonio, my stepfather, her dad,
yelled Action, she'd freak, she just burst into tears
and would be sobbing the entire take.
He'd yell cut, come over and be like, Stella,
and she'd be fine and happy and then,
and I think she thought it was really scary
when he yelled action and I was the one holding her
the whole time [chuckles], like running down the street,
holding this crying, crying, baby.
You don't know my name, do you?
Is it Stanford?
I should just kick your ass.
I think it was like one or two callbacks.
And then I read with Aaron Sorkin
for the second or third one.
He said, Just say what I wrote,
don't add any exclamations
or any punctuation.
Don't add the word the word 'um'.
And I was like, Okay. Yes.
And he read with me the fastest I've ever read a scene.
And we did it a bunch of times.
How do you go to a party and you meet somebody-
Amelia Ritter but you prefer Amy.
You're from Orinda, your father's in commercial real estate
and your mother's 10 years sober.
What's my major?
It was really interesting because that was my first job
as an adult, I think I had just maybe turned 19
and I thought I'd go to set and like,
have my hair and makeup done and stuff.
And I got there and it was like, six o'clock in the morning.
And they were like, Yeah, great. You look good.
And I was just like, No, what?
But he wanted me to look like me
and not like a done-up teenager.
That day, Terrence Malick came to visit David Fincher
on set, like already beyond nervous
about working with David.
It was just having like, two of your heroes watch you work
for the first time, ever really, in your adulthood, so.
That was a lot.
It's really awesome except it's freakishly addictive.
Seriously Kate, you haven't slept with anyone
since Maddie was born, it's like seven, eight?
She's five. Five. She's only five?
They had cast somebody else.
They had had the entire cast and she, I guess,
fell out at the last minute.
My agent called me in the morning and was like,
Can you be at Fox in 45 minutes?
So I went in and I met with all these people at this like,
conference, it was so crazy.
And they told me about the show
that they were gonna basically start making like,
in an hour, so I chose to go work on it.
And I spent a few hours just like,
running lines, like crazy.
And then I went back and I got the part
and we started pretty immediately
and I just had the best time, I was playing a young mom
who had a baby as a teenager.
So, if you wanna go and marry that boring, rich,
semi-bald guy and spend the rest of your life not laughing,
then fine, go ahead and do that.
The person that I was like, always true north, was Dana Fox
because it was her show, she created it.
It's about her brother and her, basically.
I found it really fun to have different people's points
of view but I also felt like I always knew
what needed to happen.
Our wedding was an hour ago and this is my husband.
It's amazing, best day of my life.
Hi, I'm Dakota
Jeff Bumundo. I sell ceramic tile outta Newark.
Nice. My wife's name is Catherine.
I can show you my social security card, if it helps.
I somehow got myself into being
in the series finale of The Office
because I was a fan of The Office, of course.
I'm in it for like, three minutes
and I spent two weeks on that set.
I was there every day, all day,
but I did meet Rainn Wilson and now I always run
into him on planes.
I felt like I was like, crashing someone's birthday party,
when they actually really didn't mean to invite me,
like they did it just to be like, Yeah sure, come,
you know, and then I was stuck there.
Earlier you said that there are some people
who know you well.
Why do I get the feeling that that is not true.
When I heard that Sam Taylor Johnson was directing it,
I emailed my manager at the time,
I think I wanna audition for that.
I feel like it could be really cool.
Later when I got the job, he framed that,
but the email's like, full of typos, like,
I must have been driving.
Working with Sam was really cool
because her ideas are really fully realized.
They're very organic to who she is
and what she believes about love in the world.
And she has great taste and she's really kind
and really loving and I needed that so much.
You know, I felt brave enough to do that role
but I really needed to feel safe.
Oh my God.
Well, we did a lot of research, just learning about the sort
of power dynamics between a submissive and a dominant.
It's very, very psychological.
And I found it to be amazing to learn about what kind
of relief and release some people need
and how everybody is different and everything is okay,
as long as you're not hurting somebody else
without their consent.
But it is complicated, it was a lot to try and like,
ground the character and this young girl
inside of this massive idea.
I really was looking to find the beauty
in it and the heart and the humanity.
And then his behavior started changing
and he became really angry to me.
Like, really angry and his, his body was all stiff
so I brought him here and they said that
the aspirin that I had been giving him just made him worse.
No, no. Yeah, that's what they said.
That's what they said, that I made him worse.
I knew Johnny Depp from my childhood.
He was friends with my dad and Hunter Thompson.
My dad and Hunter were very, very close.
I was there for a few weeks
and it was a really lovely, fun time.
It was like, being on a set with someone who's revered
is a very different kind of set to be on.
And it felt so magical and respectful.
It was a real like, honor and treat to work
alongside someone who, he's so gifted.
And Scott, as well. I really loved Crazy Heart.
He's never gonna be our little boy again, ever.
He's brain dead. Don't say that.
He's on life support.
He can't move and I don't want him like that.
I'll pull the plug myself. I will.
What did you say?
It was a heavy, heavy experience.
And so we were shooting this scene
and they did my coverage first.
We did it a lot.
And I think after a while, you start to like,
numb out, you kind of dry out, you know,
certain preparations that you do or an actor does
to get to a place of emotional like, heightened emotions.
It's almost like you hold yourself at a place, or I do,
I hold myself and then it's a release
and then you know that that's done and we've got that.
So then, we moved on to Johnny's coverage
and I was on the other side of the camera,
just like shaking and weeping.
And we broke for lunch and I was like,
Wow, that was such a crazy experience.
And just, to do that scene with somebody like that,
was just hardcore.
And then they knocked on my door and they said
Your coverage is out of focus and we have to go back
and re-shoot, and this is like nine hours later.
And that is like, one of the most devastating times
that I've ever had on a movie set
because it wasn't the same when we went back.
You of all people in the whole fuckin' world
cannot say that to me.
Why the fuck not?
Go fuck yourself.
There are two things that dance can never be again,
beautiful and cheerful.
Today, we need to break the nose of every beautiful thing.
I was making a bigger splash with Luca Guadagnino,
the director and Tilda Swinton,
like little mischievous children,
came over to me and they were like, Do you know Suspiria?
or Luca said that, not Tilda, they were gonna make it
and they wanted me to make it with them.
So I got really into German expressionist dance
from the thirties and forties
and just studying how brutal it was
and how aggressive and the total opposite of ballet.
Ballet, you're kind of going against gravity
and this dance you're going with it
and it's very sort of, brutal.
We shot on top of this mountain.
It was just one winding road up to this abandoned hotel
on top of a mountain, that on the top of the hotel,
had like, hundreds of telephone wires of like,
Everyone in the whole place was like, just like,
riddled with static and everyone would go
around shocking each other and like, my hair standing up
on end and it was the weirdest experience.
And I was doing like, dream work to prep for the movie.
I was having crazy dreams
and really weird experiences with people and very bizarre,
just bizarre, witchy witchcraft.
It was pretty cool.
Don't be afraid to give yourself to somebody, Dane.
It's not fair that I'm the only woman
who knows how special you are.
So, I met with Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
She made this really great documentary called Blackfish
and I just thought it would be so cool to make like,
a family drama with a person who's a documentary filmmaker
because those people usually see things differently.
And I was right because we would be on set
and she would roll camera when we were just talking
or when the girls were playing
'cause she knew what really is natural, what really is real.
I think when I met with her, Jason Segel was attached
to the movie and I had made a movie with him,
I made The Five Year Engagement with him,
and I love him so much. I love him like, just so much.
And so, we were really excited to work together again.
We made it in this town in Alabama called Fairhope,
which is where the family came from
and where this woman, Nicole Teague, was from.
And it was this really, really small town.
So everybody there knew her.
I visited her grave, I met her children,
everybody there was so supportive and they really loved her.
And so loved that we were telling this story.
It was also like, at the bottom line,
about love and friendship and I really like that.
I really like movies that are really, truly,
in their heart benevolent and kind.
After sewing thoughtfully for a minute,
Joy said, I think she's growing up.
I'm happy. I'm happy with Elena with, with everything.
I met my husband so young and he's fucking crazy about me.
The Lost Daughter I read
and then I sort of pursued Maggie.
We kind of just had like, immediately went really real
and really deep.
I really like it when that happens,
it feels kind of radical to me,
especially in this industry where so many meetings
and conversations are the most bullshit.
The most bullshit.
So, we were just like, What's the truth
and let's talk about it.
And she called me and said that I had the part
and I cried a lot.
I cried a lot 'cause I really, really wanted it.
There was something about that script
that made me feel differently about
what movies could be made and how they could be made
and how they could be written.
Making it with her was like, a profoundly wild experience,
not wild as in like, the set was crazy or, you know,
unmanageable, it was like internally,
I was on fire.
We're gonna go and find Ninny tomorrow
when it's not raining, right honey?
And then today, we're gonna get a doll for a big girl.
You're mommy's big girl. You're my big girl.
I think because Maggie's a woman,
but she's also an actress,
so she knows what it feels like to be a woman
in front of a camera being vulnerable.
And I've never felt,
as seen and protected
and free as I did.
She sort of created a space for all of us
to do very extreme things
and would lead us to the ends of every possible direction.
Felt like I'd been trying not to explode
and then I exploded.
It doesn't sound amazing.
Meet my sisters-in-law, Henrietta and Louisa Musgrove.
They are beautiful in every way.
This amazing woman, Carrie Cracknell, came on to direct
and she had done loads of theater
and so this was her first feature film.
I started training,
like dialect training, a few months before we started.
That was the biggest thing for me was like,
making sure that I was at least okay at, you know,
speaking in an English accent.
If I was dragged for that, I would jump off of the planet.
I still think it could be better
but that's how I am about everything.
You must promise to spend every waking second with us.
When you aren't attending to your sister, of course.
How are you feeling, Mary?
You haven't even asked me how I'm feeling.
I just did. I'm so close to death,
I can feel my organs decomposing.
We did a lot of rehearsal, which I'm not used to,
like rehearsal, real rehearsal and I was really into it,
it felt great.
I really like working with different directors
and learning how different people work
and how different actors work.
It's really fun for me.
The script was written in a way, sort of like Fleabag,
where the main character breaks the fourth wall
and speaks to the audience, so that was fun.
That was like a very, very interesting,
I'd never worked with that dynamic on a set
with a camera before, it made me feel
a little bit more connected knowing that it was okay
to include the camera, it was really weird.
It was everything you're taught not to do.
We really wanted to show that this sort
of struggle can be relatable today,
can still be going on in some places
and this kind of woman still exists.
And also it's really nice to have these sort of,
escapist movies, these stories.
That's why I love movies, is so you can disappear
into another world, into other people's experiences
and lose yourself in them.
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