Dakota Johnson may end up with the last laugh.
Until now, the actress was largely known for two things: being the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson (and granddaughter of screen legend Tippi Hedren), and being the actress 91,000 people didn't want playing Anastasia Steele in "Fifty Shades of Grey."
Those aren't exactly the kind of creds an up-and-comer craves. But by landing (and keeping) her role as the naïve college student who undergoes an S&M-themed sexual awakening, Johnson is now officially a Hollywood player.
For the past four years, the natural blonde has mostly played smaller roles, and occasionally objects of affection – see her in "The Five-Year Engagement" as Jason Segel's temporary love interest, Justin Timberlake's bedfellow in the Oscar-winning "The Social Network," and another undercover cop in "21 Jump Street."
Even with that kind of exposure, "Fifty Shades" fans had a hard time placing Johnson when she was unveiled as Universal Studio's top choice for Ana – an anonymity that might have continued had she not been so tenacious about scoring the role. Story has it, the budding star begged her manager for an audition without having read the books, was willing to perform a sexually explicit monologue as an audition piece, and then followed up daily to see if she got the job.
"I just really understand it," Johnson said. "I think it's an incredible love story and that's why it's affected so many people. … Adding in the sex makes it perfect. Sometimes you feel a little bit naughty and that's OK."
Just how naughty the movie will be – and producer Michael de Luca has promised that fans will get "an erotic and intense love story" – is what's on the tip of everyone's tongues, and, along with that, Johnson's name.
You should get used to saying it, by the way. Before "Fifty Shades of Grey" bows in February 2015, the actress has three movies slated for this year: a comedy with Sarah Hyland and Nick Offerman called "Date and Switch"; a high-octane drama with Aaron Paul called "Need for Speed"; and a contemporary take on Shakespeare's "Cymbeline" with Ethan Hawke.