Becoming an acclaimed actor or actress is the ultimate goal for countless millions of young people in all walks of life; attaining that goal is another matter, and relatively few aspiring thespians ever do so.
A surprising number of famous and semi-famous actors never even had such a goal – ‘celebrity’ just happened because of some combination of innate talent and fortuitous circumstances.
In the case of Dakota Johnson, it’s still hard to say how things will develop, but there is little doubt that her role in Fifty Shades of Grey will have a substantial impact on her career. Even though the film isn’t due for release until February of next year (2015), speculation and analysis is rife amongst those who keep close track of events in the film industry.
Born in Austin, Texas in 1989 to parents who are both well known in the industry, Dakota was familiar early on with celebrity and its often negative impact on those in the spotlight. Her father is Don Johnson (best known for his starring role in the popular 1980’s TV series ‘Miami Vice’), her mother is Melanie Griffith, an actress with a quite a history of her own.
Stories and gossip about her family were a burden during Dakota’s school years; she has recently revealed that other kids made sure she heard about every misstep taken by a volatile Mom and a TV sex-symbol Dad with an on-again-off-again marriage. She said her schoolmates used to present her with pictures and articles from tabloids that featured one or both of her parents misbehaving, to her embarrassment and chagrin.
Dakota actually made her film debut at the age of ten in Crazy in Alabama, in which she and her half sister Stella Banderas played the daughters of their real life mother, Melanie. The film received little notice at the time, but her early career as a model flourished during her high school years.
Dakota’s first notable film appearance was a scene with Justin Timberlake in Social Network, the movie that garnered eight Oscar nominations and won Best Picture in 2010. She was cast in a number of films after that, including a feature film based on the TV show ’21 Jump Street’ (she was one of the “Miley Cyrus-lookin” gals in a high school undercover operation), and several others nobody much recalls. She also co-starred in the short-lived Fox TV series ‘Ben and Kate”.
Now she’s got the role of Anastasia Steele opposite Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey. She will be the focal character of the movie, along with Dornan, and fortunately (according to inside sources) the two work well together. However it remains to be seen whether the sexual tension and eroticism described in the book will come across that way on screen.
The fact that Dakota isn’t a big name in films up to this point only increases the interest in her performance as the sexual plaything of a very wealthy, arrogant (and quite charming) man who for reasons of his own is a sensual sadist – or a sadistic sensualist, but you get the idea. Her character is a naïve young woman who is initially intimidated and soon subjugated (with her permission) by the powerful, enigmatic Mr. Grey.
Since more than 100 million people have bought the book version, written by E.L. James and first published in Australia in 2011 then in the U.S. in 2012, the producers expect a good turnout at theatres.
If the internet buzz is anything to judge by, there will be more than enough publicity to insure that Dakota – and the rest of the cast – all get a good share of a large spotlight