Fifty Shades Of Grey’s Dakota Johnson Reflects On How Her Life Changed After The First Movie

Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Dakota Johnson wasn’t a stranger to Hollywood when she booked Fifty Shades of Grey. But nothing could have prepared her for the way her life would change after she played Anastasia Steele for the first time. The actress has had a few years away from the franchise and, now, she’s able to reflect on exactly what the massive series meant for both her personal life and her career. 

Fifty Shades of Grey was a hugely popular book series when Dakota Johnson became part of the film series’ cast. So it was inevitable that it would transform her from a relatively unknown actress to one of the most famous faces in the world. On an episode of The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast, she admitted that her life has changed a lot since the first Fifty Shades film was released – in both good ways and bad ways: 

I mean, I didn’t have to deal with paparazzi before that. [laughs] That’s [a] pretty fucked up job. My life changed in all the ways that you’d imagine it changed, but I didn’t. I was just like, ‘Now, I can meet with directors and writers that didn’t know who I was before or didn’t have the time. And that was so, so special, and the platform those movies have given me and the access to people has been really incredible.

It’s hard to imagine how stressful it would be to deal with the media tracking your day-to-day life – even before the first film came out,, there was a lot of attention on how she and co-star Jamie Dornan got along. And now, that the star is with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, the attention has only increased. But just like Dornan’s own take on the Fifty Shades whirlwind, she has a healthy perspective on the ways in which her life has changed for the better. 

Her balanced perspective on fame could partially be due to her chill approach to life in general. It could also be the result of growing up in a family that has a history with fame. Her parents are Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson and her grandmother is the Hitchockian icon Tippi Hedren. It’s easy to see how she could have picked up a few ideas about how to handle being a celebrity. 

Dakota Johnson has undoubtedly made the most of those doors in Hollywood opening up for her after Fifty Shades of Grey. In the years since, she’s booked some amazing roles in films like Black Mass, Suspiria, and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter. Her career is still heating up, too, as it sounds like she’s in talks to join the Spidey-verse (albeit not in a new Marvel movie) as Madame Web in an upcoming film. That role could catapult her to even more fame, but it sounds like she has the wisdom and perspective to keep her grounded through another wild Hollywood ride. 

Katherine Webb