It’s the announcement 50 Shades of Grey fans have been eagerly awaiting ever since the movie plans were announced. E.L. James, author of the book series, revealed on Twitter today that 23-year-old Dakota Johnson will play the Anastasia Steele to Charlie Hunnam’s Christian Grey.
I am delighted to let you know that the lovely Dakota Johnson has agreed to be our Anastasia in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.
— E L James (@E_L_James) September 2, 2013
For many, the casting announcement came as a big surprise. Although Dakota has played some notable roles, her name is still largely unknown.
Even though Hollywood doesn’t know too much about Dakota, Dakota likely knows a thing or two about Hollywood — at least based on her family connections. Dakota is the daughter of Academy Award-nominated actress Melanie Griffith and Golden Globe-winning actor Don Johnson. Her grandmother is Tippi Hedren, who was one of Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite actresses. Her step-father is Antonio Banderas.
“But for me it’s just my family, it’s the way I grew up and it’s my mom and my dad,” Dakota said of constantly getting asked about her family in a 2012 interview. “It doesn’t really bother me because I get it, but sometimes it’s kind of a drag to talk about.”
Dakota’s famous family likely helped her get her foot in the entertainment industry’s door, but she seems to have standing on her own ever since then. She started off as a model with IMG and scored a lucrative contract with MANGO Jeans in 2009.
Dakota had a few small acting roles, including a scene in The Social Network where she got to hop in bed with Justin Timberlake and another small sex-centric role in The Five-Year Engagement. She then landed the lead role in the short-lived Fox show Ben & Kate. When the show was canceled after one season, Dakota moved back to feature films with a role in Need for Speed. She also made a cameo appearance in the series finale of The Office.
Still, 50 Shades of Grey is primed to be Dakota’s real breakout role. If the three-movie series is anywhere near as popular as the books, Dakota Johnson will soon be a household name! (And, if you haven’t read the books, this is as good of a time as any to jump on the bandwagon…)