Dakota Johnson

It’s no secret that some actors dislike press tours. And once you put down your sad violin for their hardships, you can see why. The questions can be boring and redundant (not, of course, those from Glamour). The schedule can be packed and grueling. You have to smile and grit your teeth through photo op after photo op, nod along in every interview.

Most actors have to play along with the game, never showing their annoyance or fatigue, to keep from being labeled difficult or ungrateful, an asshole if they are a man and a diva if they are a woman. Unless, of course, you have both the unbridled confidence and the warm cocoon of nepo-baby-dom that leave you free to do and say whatever you want. In other words, unless you are Dakota Johnson.

Over the past few years, Johnson, 34, has become known for two distinct things in the popular imagination. She has successfully shed her breakout role as Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades of Grey films, collecting enough prestige IMDB credits (The Lost Daughter, Cha Cha Real Smooth) to be respected as a Real Actor. Then there’s her public persona: the acerbic, witty, deadpan, Ellen-ruining, lime-lying Dakota that has, in her own way, become America’s sweetheart.

It may be that Johnson is the perfect celebrity for our current time. She draws our intrigue by being mysterious in a way that so few actors are these days (she barely posts on Instagram, and when she is spotted by the paps, it doesn’t seem to be a set-up). She doesn’t chase fame in an uncouth way (the privilege of being a third-generation nepo baby) and always seems to be a bit bored by the entire Hollywood ecosystem. In an age when everyone—not just celebrities—is constantly curating the best version of themselves for public consumption on social media, the idea that we could be getting a genuine window into how a famous person actually feels is refreshing and fun.

The press tour for Johnson’s latest project, Madame Web, may be her finest work yet. The film’s reviews have been less than great (it’s currently at a rough 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, though some critics have praised Johnson’s performance). But the public’s reviews of the performance Johnson gives while promoting the film are excellent.

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