Dakota Johnson Relied on Emily Blunt's 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Advice

Movies
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Lindsay Cronin

Dakota Johnson may be one of the most sought-after actresses of today. But years ago, as she prepared to try out for the role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey, she enlisted the help of another actress: Emily Blunt.

During a November 2021 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Johnson looked back on the moments that led up to her addition, which she ultimately nabbed, saying that she was asked to deliver a monologue from Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman’s Persona.

Couldn't Talk to Her Family

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After reading the monologue she was assigned, Johnson recalls being excited about the version of E.L. James' bestselling erotic trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, that was depicted by British filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson. As The Hollywood Reporter revealed, Taylor-Johnson created a stripped-down version of one of the author's novels.

Looking back at the casting process of the film, Johnson said that she wasn't able to tell anybody about the project, including her family. Instead, she chose to speak to her fellow actress, Blunt.

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Enlisted Emily Blunt

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As Johnson recalled, she ran the idea of taking on the Fifty Shades of Grey role by Blunt.

"I couldn’t talk about it to anybody. Nobody in my family knew,” Johnson noted. “I was cast [and] I remember I spoke to Emily Blunt, and I was like, ‘Should I do this trilogy? Because I want to have a really special career, and I want to make a certain kind of film."

According to Johnson, she knew that if she took on the role, she could be put into an overly sexualized box in terms of her career.

Encouraged to Take the Role

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Looking back, Johnson said she told Blunt that she knew the role would "change things."

Still, rather than tell her to steer clear of the career risk, Blunt encouraged Johnson to go with her gut and do what she truly felt was the right thing for her.

"She was like, ‘F-cking do it if it feels right. Just do it. Always do what you want to do,'" Johnson revealed.

Although the script for the Fifty Shades of Grey film changed throughout the process of making the movie, due in part to the additional writers who were brought aboard, Johnson continued with the trilogy.

Dakota Johnson Has No Regrets About 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

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Although the majority of the Fifty Shades of Grey cast remained the same from film to film, director Taylor-Johnson, who was said to have battled with James throughout the first film's creation, was not brought back for the second installment.

Still, Johnson has no regrets when it comes to joining the racy franchise.

“I feel like I haven’t been pigeonholed into anything [because of the role],” she said. “I guess I could have gone in a certain direction, but that’s just not what I was interested in."

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