‘Fifty Shades of Grey’: Dakota Johnson cast as Anastasia Steele

Dakota Johnson, best known for the short-lived Fox comedy series "Ben and Kate," has been cast as Anastasia in "Fifty Shades of Grey."
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

“Fifty Shades of Grey” novelist E.L. James announced Monday morning on Twitter that Dakota Johnson had won the coveted role as college graduate Anastasia Steele in the adaptation of her bestselling erotic novel.

The role of Anastasia is the biggest to date for Johnson, 23, who is the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson and granddaughter of Tippi Hedren. The actress made her film debut playing her mother’s on-screen daughter in 1999’s “Crazy in Alabama,” which stepfather Antonio Banderas directed. She became the first second-generation Miss Golden Globe in 2006.

Since graduating high school, Johnson has been steadily working her way up the acting ladder from small parts such as Justin Timberlake’s bed mate in 2010’s “The Social Network” and an obnoxious cop in 2012’s “21 Jump Street” to more substantial roles as a restaurant worker who dates Jason Segal in 2012’s “The Five-Year Engagement.”

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Johnson starred in her first TV series, the short-lived 2012 Fox comedy series “Ben and Kate,” as a neurotic but sweet single mom whose goofy older brother (Nat Faxon) moves in with her and her daughter.

She is currently filming a modern-day version of Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline” with Ethan Hawke.

“Fifty Shades,” to be directed by British artist and filmmaker Sam Taylor Johnson, chronicles the complicated relationship between Steele and young business tycoon Christian Grey. Kelly Marcel is adapting James’ book for Universal Pictures and Focus Features; the romance is scheduled to be released on Aug. 1, 2014.


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