With the much anticipated adaptation of E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” making its way to the big sscreen in the very near future, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding actress Dakota Johnson, who is slated to play the film’s female lead, Anastasia Steele. Although Johnson’s resume is not expansive, she’s no stranger to Hollywood.
Johnson was born into the limelight thanks to her superstar parents; her mother is Melanie Griffith and her father is Don Johnson. She lived an idyllic childhood and was friends with the children of some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Rumer Willis, the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. She is also known to pal around with Mary-Kate Olsen and Paris Hilton.
Dakota Mayi Johnson was born on October 4, 1989, in Austin, Texas. She attended Colorado’s Aspen Community School, where she became interested in dance and modeling. Johnson also attended the prestigious New Roads School in Los Angeles, her current home. She did a Teen Vogue spread with the children of other celebrities at age twelve and went on to find some success as a model. She signed with ING Models in 2006, and a few years later, she worked as a model for MANGO Jeans.
At age nine, Johnson got her start as an actress when she had a bit part in “Crazy in Alabama” (1999)—a film directed by her stepfather, Antonio Banderas. Her mother and half-sister also starred in the flick that was set in a small Alabama town during the throes of the Civil Rights Movement. The movie didn’t go down well—Melanie Griffith was nominated for a Razzie for her performance.
Johnson was relatively inconspicuous in Hollywood following her initial film until her reappearance in 2006, when she, following in the footsteps of her mother who was voted Miss Golden Globe in 1975, was awarded the same title. This award is given to a celebrity daughter who is then given the honor of assisting during the awards presentation. Her parents are both Golden Globe winners. Her father won his award for “Miami Vice” (1984), and her mother won hers for “Working Girl” (1988). Her grandmother, Tippi Hedren, also won the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer in 1964.
Johnson’s life has not always been without strife, however. In 2007, she completed a month-long stay in a Malibu, California, rehab program—Visions Teen Treatment Center—for drug and alcohol problems. Following completion of this program, she attended an outpatient program in Brentwood, California.
It wasn’t until 2010 that she made a return to acting when she starred as Amelia Ritter in “The Social Network” (2010), a film that chronicled the rise of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. The movie received eight Academy Award nods, including nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director. Her role in the movie was small; she starred as the social network mogul’s one-night stand. Nonetheless, Johnson, along with her cast mates in the movie, collectively won the Hollywood Film Festival’s Ensemble of the Year award for their performances in the movie. She and the other actors and actresses were also nominated for Best Ensemble Performance by the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards. Coincidentally, the producers of “The Social Network,” Dana Brunetti and Mike Deluca, are also the producers of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
In 2011, Johnson played the minor role of Sloan Hagen in “Beastly,” a romantic drama fantasy based on the book by the same title. In 2012, she had roles in a string of films, including “For Ellen,” “Goats,” “21 Jump Street,” “The Five Year Engagement,” and “Gay Dude.” She is also currently involved in several projects that are in the post-production stage, including “Need for Speed,” and “Transit,” and she is currently filming “Cymbeline,” which is a contemporary version of the William Shakespeare work of the same name.
She is probably best known for her TV role as Kate Fox in the television series “Ben and Kate.” This short-lived 2013 comedy pitted her as the roommate of three single men. The show was cancelled in its first season. She also appeared on one episode of “The Office.”
In May of 2010, “Nylon Magazine” included Johnson on its list, “55 Faces of the Future,” which was published in its “Young Hollywood” issue. It looks like that prediction was accurate; with the book selling more than seventy million copies, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is poised to be a career changer for this little-known starlet. She is set to star alongside “Sons of Anarchy” megastar Charlie Hunnam, who plays Christian Grey, in what is being touted as a must-see movie for all fans and non-fans of the book series.