I’ve paid almost no attention to Sam Taylor Johnson, E.L. James and Kelly Marcel‘s Fifty Shades of Grey (Universal, 2.13), which I’ll be catching next Monday night. And I definitely don’t give a hoot about the chemistry (or lack of) between costars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. But Jezebel‘s Madeleine Davies and particularly Defamer‘s Kelly Conaboy have been paying attention, and apparently Dornan and Johnson were far from a match made in heaven. They couldn’t stand the sight or smell of each other during shooting, and apparently this attitude continued through the Fifty Shades press tour.
And what of it, right? Nobody cares if the actors can pretend well enough. Kim Basinger once said that kissing Mickey Rourke during filming of 9 1/2 Weeks was “like kissing an ash tray.” Joel McCrea reportedly despised Sullivan’s Travels costar Veronica Lake. Charlton Heston had zero chemistry with his El Cid costar Sophia Loren, particularly when he had to deal with her “pizza breath” during love scenes. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes felt little attraction or affection for each other during shooting of Romeo + Juliet. Ditto Tony Curtis vs. Marilyn Monroe while filming Some Like It Hot…”like kissing Hitler.”
Then again these mismatches happened under cover, without most people knowing about them in advance of seeing the films. But with Fifty Shades, apparently, people have been noticing the discomfort between the costars for several weeks. Sometimes you can sense a lack of chemistry between costars and sometimes not. But bad vibes are bad vibes.
The 50 Shades of Grey press tour, writes Conaboy, “is now firmly established as among the most disastrous of the past decade, if not so far this century. Simply put, romantic leads Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan do not like each other. They dislike other things as well — the press, sex, the film in which they are starring — but it is clear their distaste for each other is the most keenly felt of all.”
“I don’t want my family to see [Fifty Shades] because it’s inappropriate,” Johnson told an Us reporter. “Or my brothers’ friends, who I grew up with. I think they’d be like, ‘Blegh.’ Also there’s part of me that’s like, I don’t want anyone to see this movie. Just kidding.”
“I think a lot of people try to undermine the whole thing,” Dornan told Elle. “But it’s hard to undermine something that’s so successful. Mass appreciation doesn’t always equate to something good. Think of Hitler! But I think, in this case, it must. It simply must. There’s got to be merit in it if so many people agree.”
There’s a more significant problem on my end, one that I haven’t mentioned out of politeness or whatever. My feelings about Johnson, libidinal or otherwise, are nonexistent. It’s not that I find her unattractive. Well, I kind of do. Something about her eyes bothers the hell out of me, and that mousey brown hair looks awful against her pale skin. I don’t want to sound cruel or petty, but the truth is that I look at her and I just don’t feel anything. She was half-intriguing in that morning-after scene with Justin Timberlake in The Social Network but here…nothing.