Dakota Johnson knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she auditioned for the role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey. The actress had read the popular book trilogy and fought hard to play the virginal college student who gets seduced by a sadomasochistic billionaire (Jamie Dornan).
"I just really understand it," the 24-year-old actress says. "I think it's an incredible love story and that's why it's affected so many people. [Author E.L. James] did a really good job of explaining how that just can happen sometimes and you have this chemical pull to someone. Adding in the sex makes it perfect. Sometimes you feel a little bit naughty and that's okay."
For her audition, Johnson read a long, sexually explicit monologue from Ingmar Bergman's 1996 film Persona. "They weren't–and I can't think of a better word right now–pussy footing around the subject," the movie star says of selecting the racy material for her tryout.
Johnson got the role in late August, and her casting was announced in early September. "The phone rang and I remember looking out of this apartment to an apartment across the street. And I was looking at all of these people in their windows. And I thought, 'How funny would it be if I were watching people having sex right now?'" she tells Entertainment Weekly.
"They said, 'You got the offer!' and I couldn't speak. I was just so relieved. I was crying and crying. Water was literally squirting out of my eyes because I had been so stressed out," she recalls. "And there's this giant Doberman Pincher laying on the bed next to me. And he just slowly fell asleep. It was so special and [this dog] didn't give a f--k about me and what I was going through."