Fifty Shades Of Grey’s Dakota Johnson Recalls The Advice Emily Blunt Gave Her Before She Signed On For The Film Series

Emily Blunt in Wild Mountain Thyme and Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey
(Image credit: Lionsgate/Universal)

Ahead of Fifty Shades of Grey, Dakota Johnson was already breaking out into the Hollywood scene, between finding a small role in David Fincher’s The Social Network, the hit comedy 21 Jump Street and action flick Need For Speed. But then Fifty Shades made its way to the 23-year-old’s sight. As the actress reflects on signing to the project years later, she has shared how Emily Blunt actually played a part in making her decision. 

Dakota Johnson and Emily Blunt worked together in 2012’s The Five-Year Engagement. When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter recently, the actress shared the invaluable advice Blunt gave her ahead of signing on the dotted line. In Johnson’s words: 

I couldn’t talk about it to anybody. Nobody in my family knew. 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. And I know that this is going to change things.’ She was like, ‘Fucking do it if it feels right. Just do it. Always do what you want to do.’

Dakota Johnson didn’t have a lot of people to go to when she was being considered for the role because of how massive the casting was. In turn, the actress went to Emily Blunt to get her take on the opportunity. Johnson was worried how it might affect her career, but as Blunt shared with her, at the end of the day her decisions should be geared based on what she truly wants to be involved in. 

The actress made the Fifty Shades trilogy between 2013 and 2016 alongside Jamie Dornan and they became massive hits. Based on E.L. James’ erotic novels, Dakota Johnson embodied Anastasia Steele, a young woman who gets entangled with Christian Grey, a billionaire entrepreneur who’s also into bondage relationships. The Fifty Shades movies certainly cater to a specific audience and come from a franchise often made fun of, but in the end Johnson was part of a huge phenomenon that made her good money and offered her larger name recognition than ever before. As Johnson continued:  

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

In between and following the Fifty Shades trilogy, Dakota Johnson has made some memorable films such as the Luca Guadagnino horror remake Suspiria, underrated thriller Bad Times at the El Royale or The Peanut Butter Falcon with Shia LaBeouf. It sounds like everyone won here. Dakota Johnson got to make some wildly popular movies and also retain the career she wanted all along. 

It seems like Jamie Dornan is having the same luck as well. Recently the actor shared that sharing as Christian Grey did ‘no harm’ to his career and it’s provided him with a lucrative career he can then give back to his family with. You can see Dakota Johnson next in The Lost Daughter, coming out on December 31. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.