Dakota Mayi Johnson is portraying Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades of Grey movies.
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Dakota Mayi Johnson was born on October 4, 1989 in Austin, Texas, to actors Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. She is the maternal granddaughter of advertising executive and former child actor Peter Griffith and actress Tippi Hedren, and half-niece of actress Tracy Griffith and production designer Clay A. Griffin. Her former stepfather is actor Antonio Banderas. She has six half-siblings; four on her father's side and two on her mother's side.
Johnson attended Aspen Community School in Aspen, Colorado. She later attended the Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California, for her freshman year of high school before transferring to New Roads School in Santa Monica, California. She was an avid dancer as a child. She became interested in modeling at age 12 after a photo shoot with children of other celebrities for Teen Vogue.
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In 1999, Johnson made her film debut in Crazy in Alabama where she and her half-sister, Stella Banderas, played daughters to their real-life mother, Melanie Griffith. The film was directed by her then-stepfather, Antonio Banderas. In 2006, she was chosen as Miss Golden Globe 2006, where she served as the first second-generation Miss Golden Globe in the Globes' history.
Once Johnson graduated from high school, she signed with the William Morris Agency and started her acting career. She appeared in the critically acclaimed box office hit The Social Network which was directed by David Fincher. She has also appeared in Beastly, Ezna Sands' film Chloe and Theo, and So Yong Kim's film For Ellen. In 2012, she had roles in Christopher Neil's film Goats, with David Duchovny; Nicholas Stoller's film The Five-Year Engagement for producer Judd Apatow, and the film 21 Jump Street. She also played the female lead in Chris Nelson's film Date and Switch written by Alan Yang.
In March 2012, Johnson was cast as Kate in the Fox comedy series Ben and Kate, marking her television debut. The show was cancelled on January 25, 2013 after one season. Johnson quickly resumed her film career, and appeared in Need for Speed (2014). She also has been cast in the modern-day film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Cymbeline.
In 2013, she had a role as one of the new hires on the "Finale" episode of The Office. Johnson played Anastasia "Ana" Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey, which was released in February 2015. Johnson won the role over Lucy Hale, Felicity Jones, Elizabeth Olsen, Danielle Panabaker and Shailene Woodley. On February 15, 2015, Johnson appeared on Saturday Night Live's 40th anniversary special and hosted SNL on February 28, 2015, making her the second daughter of a former SNL host (after Gwyneth Paltrow, whose mother Blythe Danner hosted during the show's seventh season in 1982) to host herself. Also in 2015, she reunited with her 21 Jump Street cast member Johnny Depp, playing the mother of his character's child in the feature film Black Mass.
In 2015, Johnson starred in Luca Guadagnino's thriller A Bigger Splash, opposite Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts and Ralph Fiennes. She also played a lead in the 2016 comedy How to Be Single, with Leslie Mann and her Date and Switch costar Nicholas Braun.
Johnson mentioned in the Autumm/Winter 2015 issue of AnOther Magazine, that she is already deep in ballet training to prepare for Luca Guadagnino's remake of Suspiria. She will star with Schnoenaerts again in The Sound of Metal, where she plays a singer, and he plays a drummer who begins to lose his hearing. She will reunite with both her The Social Network's producer Michael De Luca and costar Andrew Garfield for the crime thriller Under the Silver Lake. She will also star in and executive produce the film Forever, Interrupted, playing a young widow.
In 2006, Johnson signed with IMG Models. Though acting is her primary work, she has since modeled for MANGO brand's jeans line in 2009 and shot the "Rising Star" campaign for Australian fashion label Wish in 2011.
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Johnson was previously in relationships with musician Noah Gersh and actor Jordan Masterson.
In answer to questions regarding her stance on gender rights with respect to her role in Fifty Shades, Johnson stated: "I'm proud of [the movie]. I completely disagree with people who think Ana's weak. I think she's actually stronger than he is. Everything she does is her choice. And if I can be an advocate for women to do what they want to do with their bodies and not be ashamed of what they want, then I'm all for that."
Fifty Shades of Grey
After months of rumors and speculation, author E.L. James announced via Twitter on September 2, 2013 that Johnson would be portraying Anastasia Steele in the film adaptation of her novel Fifty Shades of Grey. She will reprise her roles in the sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.
When news of Johnson being cast as Ana was announced, it caused a massive outrage among fans of the trilogy, many of whom continue to complain about Johnson supposedly looking too "old" for the part despite being just 24 years old and not fitting Ana's physical description in the books. Some even started a petition on Change.org to have Johnson and then-costar Charlie Hunnam replaced. The petition garnered over 80,000 signatures. After Hunnam dropped out of the film, many predicted Johnson would follow suit. However, she remained committed to the film.