"I didn't go to the sex dungeon," the 25-year-old, who plays Anastasia Steele in the upcoming movie, tells Glamour. "I wanted to keep myself distanced from it at first because I wanted Ana's reaction to certain things to be completely honest and real, like new."
She was kept away from the set for 2½ months. Didn't even see pictures of it.
"When I opened the door the first time, it was a whole other world," Johnson said. "There were floggers, riding crops and a whipping bench made to the exact shape and height of my body. Which was pretty cool."
The nitty-gritties of bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism were perhaps a bit less "cool" for new dad
"Some of the Red Room stuff was uncomfortable," he tells the magazine. "There were times when Dakota was not wearing much, and I had to do stuff to her that I'd never choose to do to a woman."
Even so, Dornan would "be the first one to throw a blanket over me" after the director would call "cut," and she was still, well, hanging around tied to the bed naked, Johnson says.
See, chivalry ain't dead!
"Christian was a massive challenge, the 32-year-old actor says. "I've played a couple of sick, sick dudes, serial killers … and characters who don't treat women the way society deems appropriate.
"But it's just TV, movies. It's not real. I've always had a deep respect for women."
Excellent, because that's who's reading Glamour most of the time. Dornan and Johnson are on the cover of the mag's March issue, on sale Feb. 10.
"50 Shades" hits theaters Feb. 13. Yup, just in time for Valentine's Day, lovebirds.
Get (those whips) crackin'.