At long last, the role of Anastasia Steele has been cast for the highly anticipated feature adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, and the part goes to Dakota Johnson, daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. Johnson's name was among the most recent casting rumors for the film, but with so many names dropped for the female lead, there was now way to know for sure if she'd be the one to actually sign on. Today comes confirmation that she's the film's Ana, leaving us to wonder who will be cast to play the role of Christian Grey, Ana's emotionally tormented love interest.
Deadline posted confirmation today, stating that Johnson has landed the coveted role in Universal Pictures and Focus Features' adaptation of E.L. James' steamy romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey. The book centers on a young college grad whose path crosses with a dreamy, slightly older business man named Christian Grey. While Ana is sexually inexperienced, Christian Grey is anything but, and she soon discovers he likes it rough, to put it mildly, as Christian introduces Ana into the world of S&M. Beyond the sex, of which there is plenty, there's the romance, as Ana begins to learn about Christian's dark past.
Among the names previously rumored for the part were Mila Kunis, Emma Watson, and more recently, Shailene Woodley, Alicia Vikander and Imogen Poots. And just last month rumors were circulating that Dakota Johnson was up for the role of Ana. At that time, I speculated on the tone of the film with Johnson in the lead. With a starring role in Fox's short-lived family-focused comedy Ben & Kate, not to mention appearances in The Five-Year Engagement, 21 Jump Street and The Office, Johnson's probably better associated with comedies than she is with drama. Even her brief but memorable appearance in The Social Network had more of a humorous edge to it…
There isn't a whole lot of humor in James' novel, and I can't imagine director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel are trying to turn Fifty Shades into a comedy. But just because Johnson's better associated with comedy doesn't mean she can't do drama. And this will most certainly be a big role for the actor, who may be looking to fast-track herself to stardom, much in the way Kristen Stewart ended up doing with Twilight. Is Johnson right for the role? It's hard to say at this point, but it sounds like it's a done deal.
With Johnson on board, we're now left to wonder who will star opposite her as Christian Grey. Among the latest mentioned actors said to be in the running is Pacific Rim's Charlie Hunnam, better known to some of us as Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy. At the time of that rumor, it was said that they were waiting to cast Ana before any decisions were made on Christian. With the role of Ana locked in, it's probably only a matter of time before we hear an update on who will play Christian. UPDATE: Charlie Hunnam has been confirmed!
The film is set to arrive in theaters August 1, 2014. Keep up with the latest Fifty Shades of Grey news here.