Forget Grey — red is where the action is. Filming a Hollywood sex scene is never especially sexy, but for Fifty Shades of Grey stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, there was an added element of anxiety when it came to shooting the BDSM-themed scenes in Christian Grey’s infamous Red Room.
“The scenes in that room were definitely the most vulnerable scenes in the movie,” Johnson, 25, told Glamour for its March issue, which features a sexy new photo shoot with the on-screen pair, plus an interview with both stars and director Sam Taylor-Johnson. “But it was a very closed set — my mom [Melanie Griffith] told me that it’s my right to ask for that during intimate scenes, so it seemed like [Jamie and Sam and I] were in this little world together.”
Added Dornan, 32: “Some of the Red Room stuff was uncomfortable. There were times when Dakota was not wearing much, and I had to do stuff to her that I’d never choose to do to a woman.”
That “stuff,” as fans who’ve read the book already know, included tying his costar to a bed, blindfolding her, and dragging an ice cube down her naked body. Watch a trailer with some of the steamy scenes here.
“It’s stressful enough to be tied to a bed naked in a scene,” the actress shared. “But then they call cut, and you’re still tied to the bed, naked. Jamie would be the first one to throw a blanket over me.”
Indeed, the Once Upon a Time alum told Glamour he felt “very protective” of his costar in those moments, “aware that it probably wasn’t easy for her to be put in those situations, and exposed.”
Taylor-Johnson did what she could to create a safe environment, of course, but there was bound to be apprehension regardless. “Those days on set were calm, but you could definitely feel tension,” the filmmaker admitted.
Dornan, for his part, tried to prepare for the scenes by visiting a sex dungeon and watching a dominant-submissive session. “The dominant was our sort of adviser on the job,” he shared. “He’d be on hand anytime there was a scene in the Red Room, to say, ‘You’re doing that wrong.’ So I watched him do his thing…It was quite jovial, a very different approach to how I saw Christian being in the Red Room. I think Christian takes it a bit more seriously.”
Johnson did some research, too, but from afar. “I didn’t go to the sex dungeon. I wanted to keep myself distanced from it at first because I wanted Ana’s reaction to certain things to be completely honest and real, like new,” she explained. “But I did do a lot of reading about the culture of BDSM. It’s about the ebb and flow of control between two people. To me, there’s something really honest in wanting to completely give up control for just a second.”
That said, she doesn’t think that makes Anastasia Steele weak. “I’m proud of [the movie]. I completely disagree with people who think Ana’s weak,” she told Glamour, referring to claims that the movie is anti-feminist. “I think she’s actually stronger than he is. Everything she does is her choice. And if I can be an advocate for women to do what they want with their bodies and not be ashamed of what they want, then I’m all for that.”
One thing she’s less enthusiastic about: the idea of her loved ones seeing her naked on-screen. “My mom came up for a day [during filming]. She’s proud of me,” the Hollywood scion, whose father is Don Johnson, said. “But I don’t want my family to see [the movie], because it’s inappropriate. 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.”
The two stars went on to talk with Glamour about their personal turn-ons — which differ considerably from those of their silver screen counterparts.
“I’ve got a thing for great hands,” Dornan admitted. “My wife [Amelia Warner] has my favorite hands in the world. Being from Northern Ireland, I’m programmed to enjoy stories, so I find it sexy if a woman can tell a funny story. And I’ve always found [it] attractive talking to someone who’s achieved something that I couldn’t.”
“Like Jamie, I like good hands. Manly hands,” Johnson added. “I grew up in Colorado, and there are manly men there, so manliness is attractive to me. I think it’s unsexy when a man chews with his mouth open or when a man is rude or wears fedoras. I hate fedoras. Oh God, I can find more things I hate about men than I like. I think it’s just a phase!”
For more from Jamie and Dakota, pick up the new issue of Glamour, on stands Feb. 10.
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