There are four possible ways to watch Fifty Shades of Grey, Sam Taylor-Johnson’s adaptation of E.L. James’ best-selling erotic novel. The first: Stone-faced and sober. This is fine. If you did this, it’s fine. The second: Laughing delightedly while drinking white wine out of your purse. This is how I watched this movie. I am genuinely excited for the sequel. The third: Masturbating to it in public, then being arrested. The fourth: Watching it while stabbing a stranger with a glass bottle.
Only one of these viewing strategies is now officially sanctioned by Fifty Shades’ ever-reluctant star, Dakota Johnson. Johnson, who played amateur helicopter passenger Anastasia Steele, told Elle this week that she hopes viewers found the film funny, because she was trying hard to make people laugh while simultaneously being tied to a plank inside a sex dungeon. “I needed Anastasia to be funny,” said Johnson, who was, in fact, pretty loopy and charming throughout. Johnson doesn’t clarify whether she meant for viewers to be laughing with her or at her, but either way, she’s now rich as hell and we’re the ones sitting in a theater drinking Trader Joe’s wine, so.
Taylor-Johnson’s quote in the same Elle piece directly contradicts this entire notion. The director took the part of Anastasia much more seriously than the actress who played her, which must have made for a confusing work environment. “There had to be a sense of wide-eyed, excitable curiosity, but grounded in a worldliness,” Taylor-Johnson told Elle of casting the role. “She had to have an inner strength that would carry her through the darkest of moments. I knew straightaway that Dakota was the girl.”
Johnson, who must have completely ignored all of Taylor-Johnson’s direction, added a disturbing aside: “If you can’t laugh during a movie like that, you’re f*cked. Literally. You need to have something that everyone can relate to.”
Can anybody who took this movie seriously please contact me and let me know if they were literally f*cked as a result?