Dakota Johnson

Easter Eggs and callbacks are very common in sequels. These references provide clever nods to previous films, reminding audiences of things they liked in the previous film, and establishing some continuity in the movie universe. So it's no real surprise that James Foley's Fifty Shades Darker has a blatant reference to a previous movie. What's surprising, though, is that the movie isn't Fifty Shades of Grey -- it's immediate predecessor -- but rather, it's Working Girl.

People who are casually familiar with Mike Nichols' 1988 dramedy Working Girl might have recognized the dialogue exchange right away. In Fifty Shades Darker, the scene in question occurs when Anastasia Steele (played by Dakota Johnson) assumes a position of power at a publishing company in which she recently was a secretary. Ana has to address another female coworker who she just was colleagues with. And her lines are a direct lift from this passage of dialogue, taken right from Working Girl, when actress Melanie Griffith says:

I expect you to call me Tess. I don't expect you to fetch me coffee unless you're getting some for yourself.... and the rest we'll just make up as we go along, ok?

Strange reference? Not really, but only when you remember that Dakota Johnson, the star of Fifty Shades Darker, is also the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson -- so the whole scene is a loving tribute to Johnson's mother's Oscar-nominated movie and role. Back in 1988, Mike Nichols' Working Girl -- the story of a crafty secretary who climbs the corporate ladder after her boss steals one of her ideas -- charmed audiences and Academy members, earning numerous Oscar noms including Best Picture and Director. Griffith got an Oscar nom, her first and only, but lost that year to Jodie Foster, from The Accused. Revisit the late 80s with this Working Girl trailer:

This means that Fifty Shades Darker will score a Best Picture nomination, with Dakota Johnson following in her mom's footsteps to claim a Best Actress Oscar nomination for playing famous sub Anastasia Steel, right? Not exactly. The sequel is bad, as explained in my review. Click here to read it in full.

Instead, this is just a sweet tribute by Dakota Johnson to her mom's film career, and arguably the most successful movie her mother has done. Will Melanie Griffith even see the Working Girl nod in Fifty Shades Darker? Unlikely. As she says below, she doesn't watch the Fifty Shades movies, because she's uncomfortable seeing her daughter in a sexually provocative role:

Fifty Shades Darker is in theaters as we speak. You're better off staying home, though, and watching Working Girl.

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