A Scandalous Dakota Johnson Movie Is A Hit On Free Streaming

By Nathan Kamal | 2 months ago

dakota johnson

Dakota Johnson was a star in making from the time she was born. The daughter of Miami Vice/Nash Bridges star Don Johnson and Working Girl star Melanie Griffith (who were married two separate times), she grew up with Antonio Banderas as a stepfather and legendary gonzo journalist and famous weird Hunter S. Thompson as a frequent neighbor. She began acting at a young age, appearing in Griffith’s dark comedy film Crazy in Alabama (which Banderas directed), and beginning modeling (and Golden Globe-presenting) in 2006. It was really only a matter of time before the notoriously lime-ambivalent actor broke through to the A-list. That finally occurred in 2015, when she beat out a long list of up-and-coming actors to star in the film adaptation of E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey. The controversially erotic (though not particularly erotically controversial) blockbuster is currently streaming for free on Amazon Prime Video, so if you’re so inclined, lower your shades, sign a non-disclosure agreement and check it out Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan doing their thing. 

dakota johnson

The road to the adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey was a long and weird one. The source material novel was originally developed on various fan fiction websites under the pen name of “Snowqueen’s Icedragon” (E.L James is also a pen name, for what it’s worth). Famously, it originally utilized the central characters from Stephenie Meyer’s young adult sensation Twilight series, Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. At some point, James rewrote the material to feature original characters, now named Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia “Ana” Steele (Dakota Johnson). Interestingly, by the time casting was discussed for the adaptation, James wanted Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, who portrayed Edward and Bella in the Twilight films, to play the central pair. Needless to say, that did not happen. 

dakota johnsonfifty shades

But before Dakota Johnson was cast as the shy, virginal Ana, basically every burgeoning starlet in Hollywood was considered, auditioned, or offered the role.  Emilia Clarke, Alicia Vikander, Imogen Poots, Lucy Hale, Elizabeth Olsen, Shailene Woodley, and Felicity Jones were all in the running at some point before Johnson took the role. The casting for moody billionaire/BDSM enthusiast Christian Grey was equally as exhaustive. Ryan Gosling was the original top choice (presumably after Robert Pattinson stopped laughing long enough to say no), who turned it down. So did Tron: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund. Eventually, it was announced that Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam would take the role, until he dropped it, and it was back to the drawing board. Alexander Skarsgård, Theo James, François Arnaud, Scott Eastwood, Luke Bracey, and Billy Magnussen were all considered, until Jamie Dornan was finally cast. 

Picking who was going to direct Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in the famously BDSM-heavy story was equally as complex. Eventually Sam Taylor-Johnson was chosen (over Steven Soderbergh, who would doubtlessly had an interesting take on this). She did not return for the following two film sequels and has quite openly expressed that she wishes she had not made it, and that she clashed with E.L. James over the direction of the film. So, needless to say, things seem as though they were pretty fraught in production. 

If you have been alive since the publication of the original 50 Shades of Grey novel and its relentless call to the middle-aged frustrated mothers of America, you doubtlessly have an idea of the plot of the movie. Basically, Dakota Johnson is a shy, yet beautiful college student who stumbles into an interview with Jamie Dornan’s sullen billionaire (whose company appears to be in the business of doing vaguely business things). Pretty quickly, he asks her to engage in a consensual, BDSM-oriented sexual relationship with him, as long as she signs a legal contract. Various bondage-related things happen, there is copious nudity and sex scenes, the two fall in love, and then break up because Christian is emotionally uncommunicative and physically abusive. It’s a classic story, really. 


50 Shades of Grey was a massive blockbuster at the box office, doing MCU numbers despite its R-rating (that was at point rumored to be the deadly NC-17). It was critically poorly regarded, and honestly, the tone and visual style of the movie can be fairly described as “generic perfume ad.” Like the novel it was adapted, it was criticized for both portraying BDSM practices (by those who feel it is a sign of cultural degradation) and for portraying them poorly (by those who feel it promotes the idea of BDSM as abuse). However, it did turn both Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan into stars. Dornan recently starred in Kenneth Branagh’s acclaimed Belfast, while Johnson remains Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith’s daughter and was recently controversially cast in a superhero film. Good for everyone involved.