Casting rumors for "Fifty Shades of Grey," Universal's adaptation of the surprise literary smash that started out life as online "Twilight" fan fiction, have been swirling since the rights were snapped up last year. Initial contenders Emma Watson and Elizabeth Olsen downplayed rumors before being ruled out entirely, and speculation about Kristen Stewart and Keira Knightley proving just as baseless. But with Sam Taylor-Wood officially onboard to direct, a cast needs to be established quickly, with a release date less than a year away. The latest actress who could be up for the role: Dakota Johnson, who starred in small, buzzy roles in both "21 Jump Street" and "The Social Network" before anchoring a short-lived Fox sitcom called "Ben and Kate," at least according to The Wrap.
Johnson would play Anastasia Steele, who likes to get dominated by an older man named Christian Grey, a beautiful and wealthy entrepreneur who totally likes to dominate her in the bedroom. Through her domination comes liberation, or something. All we know is that anal beads make an appearance at some point.
What makes the casting particularly delicious is that Johnson is the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. As we all remember, Griffith made a name for herself in movies by starring in a similarly provocative movie for Brian De Palma set in the seedy sexual underworld of Los Angeles – "Body Double." Like mother like daughter, we suppose.
While Johnson has yet to hit the big time, her limited screen time in a number of movies has been tremendous (including "The Five-Year Engagement," in which she stole every scene she was in). Anyone who watched "Ben and Kate" could get a sensation of her star power, and with big roles in DreamWorks' videogame adaptation "Need for Speed," her profile is only going to rise.
Kelly Marcel, who wrote the far cuddlier Walt Disney joint "Saving Mr. Banks" (out this Christmas), adapted the novel, which was written by E.L. James. James, former New Line Cinema bigwig Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti will all produce the eventual film.
"50 Shades of Grey" will be out on August 1st, 2014.