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