'I don't want to do anything else': Dakota Johnson on her path to movie stardom

As a third-generation actress, Dakota Johnson grew up on movie sets and red carpets. She joined q's Tom Power to discuss her latest film, Our Friend, and shared why acting was the only career that ever occurred to her.

The Fifty Shades of Grey star and third-generation actress also talked about her latest film Our Friend

Dakota Johnson joined q's Tom Power to discuss her latest film, Our Friend, and shared why acting was the only career that ever occurred to her. (Getty Images for Global Citizen)

Dakota Johnson always knew she wanted to act.

The third-generation actress and model, who is perhaps best known for her role in Fifty Shades of Grey, grew up on movie sets and red carpets thanks to her Hollywood dynasty lineage: her parents are Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, her former stepfather is Antonio Banderas, and her grandmother is Tippi Hedren.

But Johnson, 31, said just because she was born into the industry, doesn't mean it was an easy path.

"There's this preconceived notion that because of who my parents are, I'm going to be a certain way," Johnson told host Tom Power in a new interview with CBC Radio's q. "[But] it's impossible to really, truly understand someone's path in this industry."

WATCH | Dakota Johnson's full interview with q host Tom Power:

When she was young, Johnson would often watch her parents working on a television or movie set.

"I loved set visits. I loved watching; I never got bored. And you know, set visits are pretty boring if you don't care so much about being there," she said.

"I don't want to do anything else," she remembered thinking at the time. "I want to make movies forever and I've wanted to make movies forever."

On bombing her Juilliard audition

When she was old enough, Johnson applied to the Juilliard School in New York to "learn how to act really well" — but she ended up bombing her audition.

She explained that she was asked to prepare two monologues — one classic and one contemporary — but when she arrived the administrators announced that they would randomly ask applicants to sing.

"They randomly chose me to sing," said Johnson. "And I was not prepared for that at all. So Radiohead's album In Rainbows had just come out and it was all I was listening to. That was the only song that was in my head. So I sang a Radiohead song and they were just like, 'What are you doing? Like, what are you thinking?' It was horrible."

Despite bombing her audition, Johnson said she felt like she had "dodged a bullet." She didn't really want to attend the school after all because she said she struggled with traditional education having been home-schooled until she was 10. Six months or so later, she landed a role in The Social Network.

On her new film Our Friend

Johnson's latest role is in the quiet comedy-drama Our Friend, in which she stars as Nicole Teague, a wife and mother who has terminal cancer.

The film is based on the true story of the Teague family, which was originally documented in an essay written by Matthew Teague for Esquire in 2015. In the essay, he opened up about his struggle to take care of his wife, and how his best friend Dane came to help out for a couple weeks — and then eventually moved in with the family.

WATCH | Official trailer for Our Friend:


"I think it's a hard movie to watch," said Johnson. "Even if you haven't experienced [losing someone to cancer]."

"The most important thing that I've heard is that right now, in this time where millions and millions of people are losing loved ones, and losing jobs, and losing really big parts of themselves and their lives, that they find some kind of 'oneness' in this movie. And I think anybody who can find a sense of support right now, through any form of art, I think that's the reason why we make it."

Written by Vivian Rashotte. Interview produced by Vanessa Greco.

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