Dakota Johnson |  Take charge of your destiny

Dakota Johnson | Take charge of your destiny

For Cha Cha Royal Smooth, Cooper Raiff’s second feature film, Dakota Johnson dons the producer’s cap for the first time, in addition to playing an acting role. She has never been so proud of a movie in her life. Interview.

Posted at 6:00 am

Marc-Andre Lussier

Marc-Andre Lussier

Dakota Johnson has always been immersed in the world of film and television. Normal, you will say, when your mother’s name is Melanie Griffith (working girl, something wild), that his father, Don Johnson, was one of the most Cold of American television during the 1980s, thanks to Miami Viceand that your grandmother, Tippi Hedren, is the Hitchcockian heroine of birds.

At the age of 10, Dakota already had a small role in crazy in alabamafeature film starring his mother, directed by his then stepfather, Antonio Banderas.

“Since I can remember, I always wanted to be an actress and act in movies,” she confesses during a videoconference interview granted to Press. I had very beautiful models. »

Observing my parents, I realized that on a certain level it was possible to be more involved in the projects, to have a creative contribution as well. Hence my desire to found a production company.

Dakota Johnson

An immediate complicity

Cha Cha Royal Smooth It is the first title in the catalog of TeaTime Pictures, a house that the actress runs together with Ro Donnelly. It is also the latter who, seduced by the idea put forward by the filmmaker and actor Cooper Raiff (shit), while a scenario had not yet been written, he insisted on putting his accomplice in it immediately.

« J’étais alors en Grèce pour le tournage de The Lost Daughter [Maggie Gyllenhaal]Dakota Johnson recalls. I first met Cooper in zoom and I liked it right away. He has something really special, a unique point of view. I was seduced as soon as he gave me the title of his film, which I think is brilliant. When we started working together, complicity took hold immediately. »

In this story of a 22-year-old man who becomes attached to a 10-year-old woman, the mother of a preteen with autism spectrum disorder, Dakota Johnson was able to collaborate on the script in a concrete way. At the writing stage, Cooper Raiff (who plays the title role) transcribed the fruit of conversations he had with the actress about the characters.


Cooper Raiff and Evan Assante in Cha Cha Royal Smooth

“Cooper was very open to the idea,” he explains. In our company, we want to work closely with screenwriters and support them creatively. »

It was also important to me that the female characters be well written, that Domino, the woman I play, be portrayed in a complex way, as she deserves. The dynamic between all the characters has been carefully considered.

Dakota Johnson

a new step

The role of Anastasia Steele in the trilogy of Fifty Shades of Grey Having propelled her to the highest echelons of stardom, Dakota Johnson believes now is the time for her to step up a notch and take her destiny into her own hands as well.

“There was still a moment that I wanted to produce, but nothing is obvious. People find it difficult to believe in you in this capacity, because they feel that this envy is like a vain dream. I still meet people who don’t take me seriously, but I’ll make it! »


Dakota Johnson with Vanessa Burghardt, who plays her daughter, in Cha Cha Royal Smooth

He had practically never stopped touring since The social network [David Fincher], which marked the actress’s passage into adulthood, Dakota Johnson has obviously had all kinds of experiences on set, often exhilarating, sometimes less so. We feel a real concern in her to offer a stimulating workplace to the artisans who work on her projects.

It often happened to me that I participated in films as an actress that, upon arrival, were completely different from the ones that we had however discussed. It is such a strange experience. Sometimes it’s disappointing and other times it’s great, but now I like being involved in a project from start to finish.

Dakota Johnson

“I also wanted, he continues, to found a company whose golden rule is to promote a healthy environment, truly dedicated to the art of cinema. On several sets, where hierarchy was very important, I felt alone, excluded. They didn’t tell me anything. On the contrary, I want a space where all artisans feel equal, where the value of each one’s work is recognized. It must be fun to shoot a movie, especially since we are privileged to be able to practice this profession. »

a first success

The experience of this first production seems convincing. In addition to winning the audience award at the Sundance festival, which took place virtually in January, Cha Cha Royal Smooth was bought by Apple TV+. Earlier this year, this broadcaster distinguished itself by winning the Oscar for best film thanks to CODA (SianHeder).


Dakota Johnson at the premiere of Cha Cha Royal Smoothpresented at the Tribeca Film Festival, in New York, last Monday

“Obviously I had seen the movie several times before, but it wasn’t until I was able to see Cha Cha Royal Smooth with the public -it was at the South by Southwest festival- that I was able to measure the impact”, indicates who will hold the star of lady weba Marvel Studios feature film.

“I was more proud then, I think, than ever in my life. Seeing people’s reaction so positive, their excitement, their hearts light up. It really is the best feeling in the world! »

Cha Cha Royal Smooth is available exclusively on Apple TV+.

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