POSTED February 12 2015

Dynasty: “50 Shades” Dakota Johnson, third-generation star

Dakota Johnson, Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith

Dakota Johnson, Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith

Mind you, I do not love 50 Shades of Grey.

But, man, I do love leading lady Dakota Johnson, granddaughter of Tippi Hedren (The Birds, Marnie) and daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. No disrespect to her elders, but the younger Johnson’s humor, timing and nuance are unique to her. There’s neither a shadow nor echo of her famous forebears. She’s her own woman.

Except for an obligatory scene of her tripping and falling at the feet* of Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), she brings unusual self-possession to her performance as America’s wholesomest, most indomitable submissive. Even when she is buck naked, the thing you notice about Johnson is the intelligence behind her eyes (cornflower-blue, if you need to know).  She grounds the BDSM** fantasy in human reality.

The Hedren/Griffith/Johnson menage are now a Hollywood dynasty, like the Barrymores, Coppolas, Douglases, Farrows, Fondas, Hustons and Minnellis. Is there a genetic marker for acting and directing? An easier question to answer: Most talented dynasty?

*A Hollywood producer once explained to me that when female characters fall in films, males in the audience don’t feel threatened.

** Bondage/Domination/Sadomaschism


  1. Carlye says:

    Can’t wait to see Dakota in “50 Shades.” She was terrific on the short-lived sitcom about a brother and sister, “Ben and Kate,” with Nat Faxon (the co-writer of “The Descendants” and the co-director of “The Way Way Back”) and Lucy Punch. Also can’t wait to see the new Lisa Cholodenko series tonight on NBC with that great cast. If I recall, you liked “Olive Kitteridge.” Hope it’s in the same league.

  2. Joe says:

    Dakota Johnson is an awesome young actress – subtle, naturally witty and never less than real. You can’t catch her “acting” for a second.

  3. Carlye says:

    OK, I’ll try this again. (Had trouble the other day.) About Dakota Johnson, I am a huge fan. She was wonderful on a short-lived sitcom, “Ben and Kate,” with Nat Faxon and Lucy Punch. It was an unusual show (unusual for a sitcom) as it was about a grown sister (divorced with child) and brother (eternally single and a likable loser) played by Dakota and Nat. Charming show. And she was just terrific on it. Also wanted to ask if you watch “The Slap” the other night on NBC. I know you admire Lisa Cholodenko and the show had a great cast.

  4. Miz Val says:

    We must not have seen the same movie.Johnson’s limited talent needs a lot of work. Not only in the acting department but just her very demeanor when she is interviewed is annoying and very unprofessional.If she got the job just because she was related to some good actors than Hollywood is in a lot of trouble. May I suggest before the filming of Fifty Shades Darker starts filming this spring that she get and EDUCATION, poise, a more woman like figure and maturity under her belt. For the record I loved Jamie Dornan and I am a BIG fan of the books. Production wise E.L.James got thrown under the bus by Sam Johnson one of the worst directors ever. She spent more time on location and set design than she did on character development as the story slowly moved along. It was only the last 30 minutes of the film did I feel the author’s input in the characters. Oh and the sex? Let’s be for real from a BDSM stand point it was flawed from the use of the equipment to use of a stand in for the actual acts and the after sex shots.I can’t WAIT to see how part 2 plays out. I can’t believe something I waited three years for turned out to be such a bust

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