Dakota Johnson Says Making Madame Web Was Psychotic

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Published

We can’t blame superhero fans the world over for being excited about Dakota Johnson’s version of Cassandra Webb in Sony’s upcoming thriller, Madame Web. Devotees of the Spider-Man universe will be further interested to know that, due to the extensive use of blue screens for CGI effects, Johnson found her experience during the production to be, in her words, “absolutely psychotic.” 

First Time On A Blue Screen

Obviously, Johnson has played her fair share of diverse roles—from Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades franchise to her work in the Suspiria remake in 2018. But Madame Web entailed new challenges. Namely, the highly conceptual, almost surreal nature of blue-screen work, a hallmark of CGI production (alongside green screens, the more widely recognized technology). Dakota Johnson admitted her work during principal photography for Madame Web was essentially her first time “on a blue screen.” 

Unsure Of What The Final Version Would Look Like

The actor described how “There’s fake explosions going off, and someone’s going, ‘Explosion!’ and you act like there’s an explosion.” To the uninitiated, it all seems like some unorthodox form of avant-garde, minimalist theatre–but minimalist theatre which costs hundreds of millions of dollars. Understandably, the surreal experience led Dakota Johnson to wonder what kind of film Madame Web would end up being, anyway. The actor confessed that, confined to the blue screen, she remained unaware if and how the film would be up to snuff—but she hoped her work was satisfactory, nonetheless. 

Dakota Johnson Praises Madame Web’s Director

Key to pulling off the highly conceptual shoot was the film’s director, SJ Clarkson, who functioned as a guiding light. Throughout the production, Johnson relied on regularly occurring check-ins with her director, all to distinguish between reality and the imaginative world of Cassandra Webb.For her part, Johnson heaped praise on Clarkson, lauding the filmmaker’s work ethic and dedication. Clarkson was the first to approach Dakota Johnson in 2021 about starring in Madame Web. The actor had just wrapped shooting The Lost Daughter and, having never acted in a project like Web, was initially hesitant about playing a superhero. However, Johnson found herself magnetically drawn to the character of Cassandra, intrigued by her compelling, mind-based powers. The actor confided: “Oh, I really would love to see that superhero. I would love to see a young woman whose superpower is her mind.”

Performed Her Own Stunts

Imagining explosions and performing on a blue screen weren’t Johnson’s only exceptional experiences while filming the project. Dakota Johnson also performed various stunts, including a whole day dedicated to stunt driving work for Madame Web. Having stunt-driven both an ambulance and a taxicab, the actor joked that Tom Cruise (known for his own stunt work) should take heed. 

Madame Web In The Comics

madame web

Originating in the comic books of the expansive Spider-Man universe, Madame Web was initially an elderly woman with a debilitating disease, connected to a life support system resembling a spider web. Despite her physical challenges, Madame Web possessed powerful psychic abilities, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and prescience. 

Foreseeing future events and reading minds, Madame Web assists heroes like Spider-Man—and whether on the comic book page or upcoming film’s silver screen, she carves out a singular place as a memorable, compelling superhero.

Of course, Dakota Johnson’s Madame Web will be substantially younger. Regardless, we’re excited to see her portrayal.

Source: Entertainment Weekly 

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