dakota johnson | Take control of your destiny

To the Cha Cha Real smooth, Cooper Raiff’s second feature film, Dakota Johnson wears the producer’s cap for the first time in addition to an acting role. She has never been so proud of a film in her life. Maintenance.

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Marc Andre Lussier

Marc Andre Lussier
The press

Dakota Johnson has always been immersed in the world of cinema and television. Normal, you will say if your mother’s name is Melanie Griffith (working girl, Something wild) that your father, Don Johnson, was one of the greatest Cold of American television in the 1980s, thanks MiamiViceand that your grandmother, Tippi Hedren, is the heroine of Hitchcock birds.

By the age of 10, Dakota had already had a small role in Crazy in Alabamaa feature film starring her mother and directed by her then-stepfather Antonio Banderas.

“For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be an actress and be in films,” she confessed in a granted video conference interview The press. I had very beautiful models. »

By observing my parents, I noticed that from a certain level it is possible to get more involved in the projects and to make a creative contribution. Hence my desire to found a production company.

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An immediate complicity

Cha Cha Real smooth is the first-ever title in the TeaTime Pictures catalogue, a house the actress runs with Ro Donnelly. Incidentally, it is the latter who, seduced by the idea that filmmaker and actor Cooper Raiff (shithouse), despite not even writing a scenario, insisted on involving his accomplice right away.

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

In this story of a 22-year-old young man who bonds with a 10-year-old woman, the mother of a boy with autism spectrum disorder, Dakota Johnson was able to contribute in a tangible way to the screenplay. During the writing phase, Cooper Raiff (who plays the lead) actually transcribed the fruit of the discussions he had with the actress about the characters.


Cooper Raiff and Evan Assante Cha Cha Real smooth

“Cooper was very open to the idea,” she 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 are well written, that Domino, the woman I play, is portrayed with the complexity she deserves. The dynamic between all characters has been carefully considered.

dakota johnson

A new step

The role of Anastasia Steele in the trilogy of Fifty shades of gray After Dakota Johnson catapulted her to the highest echelons of fame, she believes it’s time to take a new step and take control of her own destiny, too.

“There was one more moment I wanted to produce, but nothing is obvious. People find it difficult to believe in you in this capacity, thinking that 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 Real smooth

Since then he has practically never stopped touring The social network [David Fincher], which marked the actress’ transition to adulthood, Dakota Johnson obviously had all sorts of experiences on the sets, often exciting, sometimes less so. We sense that she genuinely cares about providing a stimulating workplace for the craftsmen who work on her projects.

It has often happened to me to act as an actress in films that arrived very different from the ones we had discussed. It’s such a strange experience. Sometimes it’s disappointing and sometimes it’s cool, but now I like being involved in a project from start to finish.

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“I also wanted, she continues, to create 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, left out. You haven’t told me anything. On the contrary, I want a space where all artisans feel equal, where the value of each individual’s work is recognized. It should be fun to make a film, especially since we are incredibly privileged to be able to practice this profession. »

A first success

The experience of this very first production seems convincing. In addition to winning the audience award at the Sundance Festival, which took place virtually in January, Cha Cha Real smooth was purchased by Apple TV+. Earlier this year, this channel distinguished itself by winning the Oscar for best picture thanks KODA (Sian Heder).


Dakota Johnson at the premiere of Cha Cha Real smoothpresented at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last Monday

“Obviously I had seen the film several times before, but only after I had seen it Cha Cha Real smooth I was able to measure the effect with the audience – it was at the South by Southwest Festival,” says the bearer of the star Mrs. Netza feature film from Marvel Studios.

“I was prouder then than I’ve ever been in my life, I think. Seeing people’s reaction so positively, their emotions, their hearts light up. It really is the best feeling in the world! »

Cha Cha Real smooth is available exclusively on Apple TV+.

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