Dakota Johnson Drops Tom Cruise’s Name When Speaking About Madame Web Workout Prep

Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades Freed
(Image credit: Michael De Luca Productions)

Dakota Johnson has made quite the name for herself in Hollywood, whether we’re talking about her outings as Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades movies or looking at her work in flicks like Suspiria, Bad Times at the El Royale, The Peanut Butter Falcon and the recently-released Cha Cha Real Smooth, which can be watched with an Apple TV+ subscription. Now Johnson is preparing to enter the superhero genre with Madame Web. As is often the case with actors who lead superhero movies, Johnson is in the midst of working out for this role, and even name-dropped Tom Cruise while talking about her current fitness regimen.

It was announced back in February that Dakota Johnson would be starring in Madame Web, the fifth entry in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe,  following Venom, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Morbius and next January’s Kraven the Hunter. Madame Web will begin shooting in July, and Johnson said the following to Vanity Fair about the muscle she’s packed on to play the title character so she can do as many stunts as possible:

I feel like I can probably do some Tom Cruise stuff.

Tom Cruise is indeed well known for the great lengths he’ll do to perform stunts on his own, particularly in the Mission: Impossible franchise, where he’s done things like held onto the side of a plane as it was taking off and jumping out of a plane as it was traveling at nearly 200 mph. There’s even a wild motorcycle stunt we’ll see him pull off in Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One that could have gone wrong in a number of ways. With the workout plan she’s been following, Johnson’s ready to follow in Cruise’s footsteps and perform as many stunts in Madame Web as possible. Naturally though, the stunt doubles will be brought in for the ones deemed too dangerous for the actress. Insurance policies on a Hollywood production like this only go so far.

So clearly Dakota Johnson will be pretty active in Madame Web, though that still doesn’t clear up which version of the character she’s playing. The original Madame Web, whose real name is Cassandra Webb, was a blind precognitive and clairvoyant mutant who was hooked up to a life support system. So obviously if Johnson’s playing this version of the character, it’ll be quite a different take compared to the original source material. However, there’s also Cassandra’s successor, Julia Carpenter, who’s on the table as a candidate, and in the comic, she remained a skilled fighter even after inheriting her predecessor’s blindness (which came with the precognitive and clairvoyant powers). 

It may be a while until we learn which specific Madame Web Dakota Johnson is bringing to life, as Sony Pictures is keeping mum on plot details right now. As far as the Madame Web cast goes, it includes Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O’Connor, Isabela Merced, Tahar Rahim and Emma Roberts as its latest addition. Dexter and The Defenders’ S.J. Clarkson is directing the feature, and Morbius duo Burk Sharpless and Matt Salaam wrote the script.

Madame Web is set to hit theaters on July 23, 2023. Learn what else is coming out next year with our 2023 release schedule, or look through our 2022 release schedule to figure out what movies you’ll watch later this year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.