Dakota Johnson: Films like Fifty Shades trilogy can be 'frightening'
Fifty Shades star Dakota Johnson says shooting erotic movies can be frightening
On the differences between the first and second part of the Fifty Shades trilogy, Dakota Johnson said: "In the first one, we were setting up this story and the characters.
"This is more about Anastasia's arc as a woman and her sexual journey, and her trying to figure out who she is alongside this other person, who is so steadfast in his goals.
"It is more focusing on the relationship between the two."
Fifty Shades Darker expands on events set in motion in 2015's box-office smash that collected US$85 million (S$120 million) on opening weekend in the United States and grossed more than US$571 million globally.
The new film, opening here tomorrow, was shot back to back with the third, Fifty Shades Freed, to be released next year.
Talking about the latest movie, Johnson, wearing a Shaina Mote dress in black - her favourite colour - looked like the girl next door. Not unlike her character Anastasia Steele, a virginal college girl who gets involved with a kinky billionaire, played by Jamie Dornan.
The movies are based on the best-selling books by E. L. James, whose husband, Niall Leonard, wrote the scripts. The second and third films were directed by James Foley.
"These films are juggernauts, and sometimes they can be frightening," said the 27-year-old US actress, on her misgivings about doing the erotic films.
"I don't regret it, but I don't always feel 100 per cent positive. I get waves of fear, and I get waves of feeling like insecure or wondering what people are going to take from this."
Her interview skills have improved marginally since our interview last year for How To Be Single. That is not saying much, but at least she did not give the impression of not wanting to be present. Or perhaps her acting skills have just improved.
When asked to expand on her answers to British Glamour magazine on her favourite sex toys, Johnson said, laughing: "That is so inappropriate."
She added: "Doing a film where that is such a prevalent concept, you do research and I learnt as much as I could about the lifestyle. There are some really beautiful aspects. I don't have a favourite sex toy."
Working with Foley was a different experience from the first movie, which had a female director, Sam Taylor-Johnson.
She said: "He did an incredible job. The first film was perfect for what it was. The way this one was made, he was very much the right man for the job.
"It is more saturated and has more of a thriller aspect, and it is more suspenseful. It was interesting going from working so closely with a woman to working on the same material with a man. It was enlightening."
Even the scenes that are not sexually explicit are emotionally intimate.Dakota Johnson
She became close friends with Northern Irish actor Dornan, 34, from spending six months shooting in Vancouver.
Said Johnson: "That was quite a lucky thing to have happened, especially in this situation, because we are so intimate.
"Even the scenes that are not sexually explicit are emotionally intimate. So the fact that we get along and can hang out outside of work and do stuff on the weekends, it is a lot nicer."
Johnson's actor parents, dad Don and mum Melanie Griffith, have not seen the films.
"When it came to me doing this job, they didn't have a choice. I was pretty adamant.
"I think they would like to be able to see these movies that have put me in this place in my life, but because it is pretty inappropriate..." she said, trailing off with a laugh.
"They don't judge me on what projects I decide to do. They judge me more on what kind of human I am."
Johnson, who is single, talked about the terrorist attack in Nice that occurred when they were filming in France.
She said: "I was driving from Cannes to Monte Carlo. And a few hours before, we had driven through Nice, and we were thinking whether to stop and have dinner. But we decided to go back because I had to shoot at 4am the next day.
"Then the terrorist attack happened, and I had my little sister with me, and I went into extreme mama bear mode.
"I thought we should have not filmed that day. I felt we were invading a space that needed to grieve on its own.
"We learnt that our French crew was safe, and all of their families were safe.
"Everyone said you go back to work the next day. You don't let something like that stop you from doing your job or living your life, which I thought was incredibly powerful.
"And although it was heartbreaking, we finished the job."
With the overwhelming interest in her, Johnson said she has withdrawn from social media.
She said: "I abstain from it because I don't feel I need to explain who I am to anyone. If there is some sort of perception of me, then that is what that is.
"My job is to be an actor and make movies, it is not to try and make sense to anyone.
"I am still figuring it out. I have found power in knowing that I don't need anybody to truly understand me because that is the last privacy I have."