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Dakota Johnson’s facial expressions in this 2014 interview are the best early reviews of the Fifty Shades film

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I was going to schedule this for Monday, but since I’ll have an Apolonia recap that will be done by then and since it’s been a long time since I was able to have fun with Twilight or whatever this movie is, I thought what the hell, I’ll just post it when I’m done.

Continuing the mockery of this cultural phenomenon that has swept in like some sort of alien invasion where only some human bodies got snatched and the rest of us were unaffected and had to pretend to be Nicole Kidman pretending to have been body snatched, I present to you:

DAKOTA JOHNSON’S FACIAL EXPRESSIONS ARE SHOWING US HOW MUCH THIS MOVIE IS PROBABLY GOING TO SUCK.

In this Vanity Fair interview in mid-2014, Johnson is filming her role as Anastasia Rose Steele-(spoilers)-Grey. The fist thing I noticed about this interview is how awkward she seems talking to journalists. She reminds me of another young actress, who played a similarly awkward role, in film based off of a bestselling novel that was almost exactly like this one except it had vampires in it.

The second thing I noticed was how much Johnson resembled a woman predicting her own imminent death. I don’t want to guess at Johnson’s state of mind, but her face, at least, seems to know that this movie is not going to be heralded as a critical achievement.

For example, this happened as she answered a question about working with her co-star and director:

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.09.27 AM

Now, of course, we know that the production was an absolute fucking war zone as Sam Taylor-Johnson and E.L. James fought each other over apparently everything. Of course, the production wants you very much to believe that everything was super fine. Producer Michael De Luca told Vanity Fair:

Was there a time you thought Taylor-Johnson, or James, was going to walk off the set? I ask De Luca. “No, because it wasn’t something that could ever be allowed to happen,” he says. “Our mantra through the whole movie was ‘When debates come up, we’re going to work it out, because this thing is going to shoot, and it’s going to wrap, and it’s going to get released.’ None of us are going anywhere, so we might as well lock arms and have a good time.”

But in the same article, director Sam Taylor-Johnson said:

“I kept trying to remind myself that they hired me for a reason. Some people said to me, ‘I’m surprised you haven’t quit.’ I was like, ‘Why would you think I’d quit?’ I never quit anything. Not without a fight.” She admits, of James, “We battled all the way through. She’d say the same. There were tough times and revelatory times. There were sparring contests. It was definitely not an easy process, but that doesn’t mean to say that it didn’t come out the right way.”

If there was such can-do, teamwork spirit behind the scenes, why would people ask if the director wanted to quit?

Then there’s the co-star component. Lots of people have commented on how uneasy Dornan and Johnson seem around each other. But I’ll just present this:

50 shades ewglamour cover

 

On the left we have the cover of Entertainment Weekly just after casting was announced, in November 2013. On the right we have the cover of Glamour magazine’s upcoming March issue (scanned by DakotaJohnsonDaily.com, who also have the transcript of the article), over a year and the filming of an entire movie together later. They have more chemistry in the first picture than the the last, in which Johnson and Dornan seem reluctant to touch each other.

So, what happened when Johnson, working on this totally not fraught and probably not disastrous movie, was asked if she would be sad when filming was over?

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.09.54 AM Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.09.55 AM Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.09.56 AM Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.09.58 AM

The only time she seems genuinely at ease is when she’s talking about how boring Ana is:

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.10.39 AM

Now, is all of this irrefutable proof that the movie is going to suck? Not at all. We won’t know until it’s out. But I think it should probably make fans nervous to see interviews like this one, from last July, in which you can’t tell if the stars are joking about their lack of chemistry, or grimly acknowledging it to each other while thinking, look at us, trapped in our mutual hell as they all laugh from the other side. Well. We’ll see who has the last laugh…

Or something possibly less threatening.

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62 Comments

  1. Kate
    Kate

    To be completely honest, I saw a set of pictures from the movie today and I thought to myself “Kristen Stewart would have been good for this, I think. She’s got that vacant expression thing down way better than this chick.”
    And then I remembered. And hung my head in shame.

    January 29, 2015
    |Reply
  2. Sue
    Sue

    Marcia Gay Harden, who portrays CG’s mother in the movie based on the novel FSo absolute sh*te, (my words) is quoted in the Belfast Telegraph….
    “The director is letting the cast see the movie but not right now.” [sic]
    “I’m going to see it right before the fans do… but this is a movie that is protected…It’s like they’ve got a chastity belt around the movie itself.” [sic]

    Subliminal message????? Holy Crap! My inner goddess hopes so

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/entertainment/news/fifty-shades-cast-havent-seen-film-30948167.html

    January 29, 2015
    |Reply
  3. My parents spent Christmas with me and the trailer for the movie came on, and before the title came up I asked ‘what genre do you think this is a trailer for?’ ‘horror? Thriller?’ Romance didn’t even occur to them.

    Those poor actors are just trying not to say anything horrible and clearly can’t think of anything else to say…

    January 29, 2015
    |Reply
    • I thought the same thing! I thought the opening was so creepy. It could’ve totally been a horror movie. Listen to it and imagine a young girl going to an old man’s house for an interview… then struggling to escape and being chopped into tiny pieces. (At least that’s what I imagined.)

      January 29, 2015
      |Reply
    • Irene
      Irene

      OMG my boyfriend’s mom said the same thing! She was like, “I saw the trailer of a new movie on tv… Fifty Grey Shades or something… Is it any good?”

      And I was like, “Yeah, no, well, I don’t think it’s your genre… You wouldn’t like it… It’s erotic or something”

      And she replied, “Really? I thought it was a thriller, you know I love those! I would’ve watched it if it was a thriller!”

      January 30, 2015
      |Reply
    • Raging Brainer
      Raging Brainer

      I know I already posted this in a previous comment section but it is too perfect to not post again. They did a perfect job making the stalking and harassing actually creepy like it would be in real life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahQIioT0STE Granted the actress in this is too good to actually play Ana in any other context but she does a great job playing the Ana that we wished existed, but then the book would have ended in the first chapter.

      January 30, 2015
      |Reply
    • Laina
      Laina

      I kept thinking it was a Gone Girl trailer or something!!!

      And the dialogue in the trailors is all so horrible! Wh otalks like that???

      January 30, 2015
      |Reply
  4. Petra (Merlinslaugh)
    Petra (Merlinslaugh)

    The thing that really made me laugh/jaw drop in shock was EL James saying she’d said from the beginning that she’d wanted to find unknowns to play the roles. Back that truck up a minute! Not only was this a Twilight Fanfic so basically a fantasy about a character that looked remarkably like Robert Pattinson but the Vanity Fair piece specifically said James wanted Pattinson for the role. I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere about James being better at media rewrites than she was with her text but that to one side, I don’t think I’ve ever seen two people look less like they want to be in the same room, never mind the same movie. Every time I see photos/ interviews with Jamie Dornan he’s wearing a more constipated expression than the last. I’ve also read that Dakota Johnson is considering going and living on a ranch for a while after the movie comes out. All I can say is ‘start packing the truck girl’. The sad thing is Sam Taylor Johnson is actually a talented visual artist and her last movie about John Lennon’s early life (“Nowhere Boy”) wasn’t terrible but from the Vanity Fair piece, it sounds very much like anytime she wanted to deviate from the book (and let’s face it who can blame her) E L James shut her down. I suspect that, alongside the chemistry deficit in evidence here, the imprint of E L will have a lot to do with how the movie turns out.

    January 29, 2015
    |Reply
    • Tammy
      Tammy

      “The thing that really made me laugh/jaw drop in shock was EL James saying she’d said from the beginning that she’d wanted to find unknowns to play the roles. Back that truck up a minute! Not only was this a Twilight Fanfic so basically a fantasy about a character that looked remarkably like Robert Pattinson but the Vanity Fair piece specifically said James wanted Pattinson for the role.”

      YESSSS! I remember watching that and transforming into Kathy Bates to scream “LIIIIIIEEEEEESS!”

      January 29, 2015
      |Reply
    • imc
      imc

      OMG. She was trying to pull a Mr. Darcy/Colin Firth/Marc Darcy stunt on us.
      Only… You know… Minus the great character, timeless classic, great actor, gorgeous man, fun reimagining parts.

      January 31, 2015
      |Reply
  5. Marvel
    Marvel

    …Is it just me or does Johnson have a very stereotypical-battered-woman look in the first magazine cover?

    I think it’s the way his fingers are digging into her arm; she looks like she’s trying to worm away from the pressure, and she’s touching her mouth like she’s nervous. Even her eyes are looking out at the viewer as if to say “help me.”

    These fucking books.

    January 29, 2015
    |Reply
    • Ethyl
      Ethyl

      That photo made me extremely uneasy and this may be exactly why.

      January 29, 2015
      |Reply
    • Maria
      Maria

      That’s not just you, I felt the same… She looked very scared.

      January 30, 2015
      |Reply
    • Raging Brainer
      Raging Brainer

      What is crazy is that Dornan is a very sweet person in real life. Although maybe he was just too good at playing a creepy stalker, since on of his best roles before this was playing a serial killer.

      January 30, 2015
      |Reply
      • I said yesterday that it’s a testament to how awful a character Christian Grey is that “serial killer of several women” is somehow sexier than “billionaire with handcuffs.”

        January 30, 2015
        |Reply
        • Raging Brainer
          Raging Brainer

          Yeah, I read an article written by a woman who had said she wouldn’t mind him showing up at her door as the serial killer but if he showed up as Christian she would not open the door to him. I can’t remember where I read it though since it has been so long since I read it otherwise I’d post the link because I’d love to spread the love of the hatred of 50 Shades… if that made any sense.

          January 30, 2015
          |Reply
          • Rhiannon
            Rhiannon

            He said himself “I’ll always have The Fall, no matter what else happens in my career”…think that says volumes about his opinion of FSOG.

            February 1, 2015
  6. Quinn
    Quinn

    In the 2nd cover Dornan has a “help me” look.

    Also, maybe if this movie sucks we’ll be spared a second and third movie? That would be AWESOME!

    January 29, 2015
    |Reply
  7. Anon
    Anon

    I just want to comment on how she really looks and acts her age in that interview, which makes the really nasty comments I see about her appearance (and how “old” she looks) all the more baffling. Someone even said she looked like she was in her 60s. What??

    January 29, 2015
    |Reply
    • Tammy
      Tammy

      D:< WTF? This just further proves how infantilized Ana is in this book jfc.

      January 29, 2015
      |Reply
    • I think that lipstick color is just super unflattering. Seriously, take away that fuchsia lipstick and she looks fine.

      January 30, 2015
      |Reply
      • Bryn
        Bryn

        I was thinking the same thing. It makes her look very washed out, or sickly.

        January 30, 2015
        |Reply
      • Teresa B
        Teresa B

        I thought I was the only one who thought the fuchsia color was god awful on her.

        January 30, 2015
        |Reply
    • Raging Brainer
      Raging Brainer

      The thing is, she is really pretty but for some reason people are incredibly mean. The lipcolor doesn’t quite work for her in that specific interview but I haven’t seen too many unflattering photos of her so I’m a bit confused about the nasty comments. Did people want her to look 12?

      January 31, 2015
      |Reply
      • ElBandito
        ElBandito

        I personally think she can look good with it (then again, I just know that if I wore anything like that shade, my whole skin would turn yellow).
        It’s just that those critics don’t know that they can’t do any better (and hell, they’re probably used to seeing women who were dolled up to look younger than their actual age and Ana’s characterisation doesn’t help since sometimes she acts like a 14 year old).

        I myself am relieved that Emma Watson didn’t get sucked in on the job (like how so many people were hoping for). I do NOT want to see one of my fave child actors get abused and pushed around on screen.

        January 31, 2015
        |Reply
        • Raging Brainer
          Raging Brainer

          Come to think of it, those who identify with Ana are probably going to be horrible people anyway since she is such a horrible person so I really shouldn’t be so surprised by the nasty comments. The ones that I have seen have been from average women, the fans of the books, which is why I was so surprised by the vitriol at first. After some thinking I realized that I was thinking like a nice person..lol. Like someone who isn’t threatened by another woman being successful.

          January 31, 2015
          |Reply
        • Rhiannon
          Rhiannon

          I doubt Emma Watson ever really thought of doing that film. She seems far too intelligent and thanks to HP she doesn’t need the money.

          February 1, 2015
          |Reply
          • Raging Brainer
            Raging Brainer

            Emma is also a real feminist (unlike Ana) and seems like she would identify the real problems involved in the story. I doubt EL would have been happy with her because Emma would probably insist on certain changes being made.

            February 2, 2015
          • khan
            khan

            she posted a tweet once, like “Did anyone actually think I was going to do it? Seriously?”

            January 4, 2016
        • Melissa Kay
          Melissa Kay

          I think Emma Watson is way too smart to get sucked into a gig like this.

          February 15, 2015
          |Reply
  8. Carolina West
    Carolina West

    Well, they succeeded in making Grey look insane on those covers at least. :/

    I’m still trying to get used to the fact that this garbage became popular in the first place, let alone got a film deal.

    Now excuse me while I go find a FSoG fan to vomit on…

    January 29, 2015
    |Reply
    • Neurite
      Neurite

      Oh please, please release that into the wild on Tumblr. This needs to become A Thing.

      January 30, 2015
      |Reply
  9. Mannnn. That awkward long pause after the “are you sad it’s ending” question just seals it.

    January 30, 2015
    |Reply
    • Lieke
      Lieke

      Yeah, and then the other woman makes the ‘maybe it’ll never be over’ joke and Johnson looks absolutely horrified.

      January 30, 2015
      |Reply
      • TayciBear
        TayciBear

        We need a Gob meme “I’ve made a terrible mistake”

        January 30, 2015
        |Reply
  10. MayaB
    MayaB

    I don’t know if it’s only in my head, but I didn’t see almost any emotions on Dakota’s face. She was staring blankly through most of the interview. And even if her mouth was smiling, the same couldn’t be said for her eyes. I don’t how she’ll be able to portray all the blushing mentioned in the book.

    I just can’t wait for the Honest Trailer of this movie!

    January 30, 2015
    |Reply
  11. ella
    ella

    She was so uncomfortable throughout the whole thing. She had to work overtime to make sure she answered all the questions in the best PR-way possible.

    If the movie flops, so will her career; if it’s a massive “$uccess” she’ll be forever associated with this role. Either way, it seems like she loses, it makes me feel bad for her.

    January 30, 2015
    |Reply
  12. I was getting my hair done last week and a bunch of the stylists were talking about this movie and wasn’t the book soooo gooood and they can’t wait to see it cuz Jamie Dornan’s sexy.

    I told them to watch The Fall. I might be evil.

    January 30, 2015
    |Reply
  13. Alix
    Alix

    Have you noticed how much Dakota Johnson resembles E.L. James?

    January 30, 2015
    |Reply
  14. Jon
    Jon

    She was getting inside Ana’s head… considering competing for space with the inner goddess and subconscious plus what ever else goes on in there I suppose we should feel sorry for her.

    January 30, 2015
    |Reply
  15. Candy Apple
    Candy Apple

    From the fourth paragraph:

    “The fist thing I noticed…”

    What a completely relevant typo! 10/10

    January 30, 2015
    |Reply
  16. Sushi
    Sushi

    I admit, I’m just curious whether the film is going to show all the stuff with her inner goddess and subconscious.

    January 30, 2015
    |Reply
    • AmyR
      AmyR

      I heard they’re not. I was hoping beyond hope that it would be like Lizzie McGuire’s cartoon internal monologue, just because it would up the WTF factor.

      January 30, 2015
      |Reply
      • Sushi
        Sushi

        That’s a shame, they help hammer home how stupid everything is.

        January 31, 2015
        |Reply
  17. She looks so annoying as I imagined Anna, so it’s a perfect match.

    January 30, 2015
    |Reply
  18. Someone
    Someone

    So that’s what a fanfic author looks like. Neat.

    January 31, 2015
    |Reply
    • Melissa Kay
      Melissa Kay

      Unfortunately, because of FSoG fanfiction is going to get an unpleasant reputation, and yet I’ve read some really good, well-written humorous fanfic that doesn’t treat readers like idiots and doesn’t do its canon a disservice. Fanfiction may be looked upon by some ‘real’ published authors as a trivial waste of time, but it actually serves as good practice, especially if you’re interested, as I am, in writing for TV and in that sense, building on characters other people have created.
      Then again, some fanfiction is utter tripe. Obviously, FSoG is of the latter variety…

      Just curious… did you expect her to have two heads?

      February 15, 2015
      |Reply
  19. Tara
    Tara

    The sad thing is, this actually had the potential to be a great trilogy. If, instead of making it a ‘romance’, E L James had turned this into a horror/erotic thriller, with the first book more or less the same, with Ana falling in love with Christian until she realises he’s an absolute fucking psychopath, then books two and three could have focused on her desperately trying to escape him (with the help of Taylor?).

    It would have been dark, creepy, and a great backlash against all the ‘abuse as love’ tropes that are sickeningly prevalent in our media (see: Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries)

    January 31, 2015
    |Reply
    • Melissa Kay
      Melissa Kay

      Gossip Girl? Or Gone Girl?

      Yeah I don’t know why the role of Taylor wasn’t expanded on, either. He could have rebelled against his employer and helped Ana escape, but he mysteriously had very little to do with Ana by the end of the first book. After that, I can’t comment, i didn’t read the sequels.

      February 15, 2015
      |Reply
  20. Shary Hulse
    Shary Hulse

    it’s just a movie! The actors look similar to the characters from the book, so u guess that’s Why they chose them. They do seem to have an awkwardness between them.. but we need to see how that is translated on screen!
    I really do hope they capture my interest since it’s suppose to be an. Erotic film.

    January 31, 2015
    |Reply
  21. Suzy
    Suzy

    The quote by the producer “this thing is going to shoot, it’s going to wrap, and it’s going to get released” reminds me of my mom telling us if we didn’t like dinner “like or lump it and take it down the road and dump it”. I also especially liked it the second interview Jamie trying to avoid the question of if Christian Grey was like him…the look on his face was saying “I’m not actually a serial killer, you know.”

    January 31, 2015
    |Reply
  22. Leah
    Leah

    She looks horribly uncomfortable, and not even in a cute kstew way.

    After recently watching season 2 of The Fall I gotta say….. Jamie Dornan DOES have the creepy sexy serial killer vibe going.

    Which is actually exactly what 50 Shades needs

    February 1, 2015
    |Reply
  23. Suzy
    Suzy

    You wanna know THE single most upsetting thing about this movie…Jennifer Ehle is playing Anna’s mom. NOOOOO! ELIZABETH BENNETT CAN NOT BE A PART OF THIS. YOU CAN’T HAVE HER!!!

    February 2, 2015
    |Reply
  24. Kristen Griffiths
    Kristen Griffiths

    IRL Christian and Ana should look awkward together. Those pictures capture the chemistry (read: abusive nature of their relationship).

    February 3, 2015
    |Reply
  25. Sherry
    Sherry

    I stumbled across this bit of casting news in my macabre desire to find some actual reviews of the movie. Taylor is going to be played by this guy: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0242882/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1.

    He makes, obviously, poor role choices but he’s got the steamy hotness for the many Taylor fanfics I’ve worked out in my head. So…there’s that?

    February 4, 2015
    |Reply
    • He was in Pacific Rim so I wonder if he got on board because of Charlie Hunnam and wasn’t able to back out the way Hunnam did?

      February 7, 2015
      |Reply
    • Lovecat
      Lovecat

      Whoa, he has my birth date!

      February 15, 2015
      |Reply
  26. Quinn
    Quinn

    It’s sad isn’t it that the guy playing Taylor has more chemistry by himself than the two leads do?

    February 5, 2015
    |Reply

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