By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard that the lead roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele have finally—FINALLY—been cast for the hotly anticipated film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey. You’re likely familiar with our new Christian, Charlie Hunnam, thanks to his work as Jackson “Jax” teller on the hit FX drama Sons of Anarchy—but who is 23-year-old Dakota Johnson, AKA Anastasia Steele? Allow us to enlighten you!
1. She comes from a showbiz family. Dakota is the daughter of actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith—which also means that Antonio Banderas, Melanie’s current husband, is her step-father. Oh, and former child actor Peter Griffith and Hitchcock muse Tippi Hedren are her grandparents.
2. She’s a model as well as an actress. When Dakota was 12, she did a Teen Vogue shoot with celebrity kids; she had a lot of fun during it, so a few years later, she signed with IMG Models when she was 17. She says that once she turned 18, “it all started coming together.” Her first real modeling job was for Vogue, too. Wowzers!
3. In 2006, she became the first ever second-generation Miss Golden Globe in history. Each year, the title of Miss Golden Globe traditionally goes to the child of a celebrity (usually a girl, but occasionally a boy); the honoree then assists during that year’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony. Melanie Griffith was previously voted Miss Golden Globe in 1975.
4. Dakota was born in Austin, Texas, but was mostly raised in Aspen, Colorado. She attended the Aspen Community School while growing up; perhaps unsurprisingly, her fondest memories of the school are tied to performing. She danced for twelve years, performing in ballets like The Nutcracker as well as other school plays.
5. She made her film debut at the age of 10, but didn’t act again for roughly ten years after that. In 1999, her step-father, Antonio Banderas, directed her alongside her half-sister, Stella Banderas, and Melanie Griffith (their real-life mother) in Crazy in Alabama. Dakota’s next big screen appearance wouldn’t be until 2010’s The Social Network as Amelia Ritter.
6. Where else have you seen her? In addition to The Social Network, Dakota has had roles in films like the 2011 Beauty and the Beast retelling Beastly, 2012’s 21 Jump Street, and The Five-Year Engagement alongside Jason Segel. She also starred in the short-lived 2012 sitcom Ben and Kate.
7. 50 Shades of Grey isn’t the only thing she’s got on her plate right now; in 2014, she’ll also be starring in a modern-day film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play Cybelline as the plucky heroine Imogen. Her costars include Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, Milla Jovovich, Penn Badhley, and Anton Yelchin. Filming started on August 22. Talk about going from low-brow to high-brow!
Tell us: Love the 50 Shades casting? Hate it? Why? Inquiring minds want to know!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.
Photo credit: StarTraks Photo