Dakota Johnson Says E.L. James Was Too ‘Precious’ About the Fifty Shades of Grey Movies


She said it before and she's saying it again. Dakota Johnson did not enjoy working with author E.L. James on the film adaptations of Fifty Shades of Grey. In a new interview with Bustle, Johnson compared James's deep involvement with the Fifty Shades movies to the hands-off approach taken by other authors, and guess which one she prefers.

“In The Lost Daughter, Maggie Gyllenhaal really absorbed that novel and then regurgitated her vision of it, and it was received so well by the author,” Johnson said. “Then with something like Fifty Shades, the author was extremely precious about words, clothing, anything, everything. And it was really difficult to have any kind of freedom and spontaneity and authenticity because you’re in such a small margin. There’s no room for being expressive or discovering what is present in that real moment that you’re capturing. It’s contrived.”

<h1 class="title">Fifty Shades of Grey - Premiere - 65th Berlin Film Festival</h1><cite class="credit">picture alliance/Getty Images</cite>

Fifty Shades of Grey - Premiere - 65th Berlin Film Festival

picture alliance/Getty Images

Johnson had actually made similar comments about working with James in a 2022 interview with Vanity Fair, calling the filming experience “psychotic.”

“She had a lot of creative control, all day, every day, and she just demanded that certain things happen,” Johnson told VF. “There were parts of the books that just wouldn’t work in a movie, like the inner monologue, which was at times incredibly cheesy. It wouldn’t work to say out loud. It was always a battle. Always.”

If Dakota Johnson was to give authors any advice, she told Bustle, it would be this: “I understand if you’re precious about it being a certain way, but then don’t allow somebody else to adapt your book. Make your own movie.”

Originally Appeared on Glamour