Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The coveted role of Anastasia Steele has gone to Dakota Johnson in the Universal Pictures and Focus Features adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey.

Johnson, who is the daughter of actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, will star as the young college graduate who has a sexual awakening with Christian Grey, a young industrialist who takes her virginity. She falls in love with him, but his insistence she take the role of submissive and open herself to his S&M fantasies leaves her emotionally torn because otherwise he is the perfect guy. They’ve yet to cast Grey, and rumors have abounded about such actors as Sons Of Anarchy‘s Charlie Hunnam. Word on that is coming soon. [UPDATE: Hunnam has officially won the role.] The film will be released by Focus Features on August 1, 2014 in North America. It is being directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and produced by Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti alongside author E L James, whose erotic novel trilogy has sold over 70 million books worldwide. Kelly Marcel wrote the script.

The word about Ms. Johnson’s casting in Fifty Shades of Grey first came from the author. Johnson, who was among the young actresses rumored to be in the running has appeared in such films as The Social Network, on which De Luca and Brunetti were producers. Need for Speed, 21 Jump Street, and Universal Pictures’ The Five-Year Engagement are her other credits. She also starred as Kate in the Fox Network comedy series Ben and Kate, which aired during the 2012-2013 season. Ms. Johnson is currently shooting the feature film Cymbeline.

Related: Charlie Hunnam Cast As Christian Grey In ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’
Kelly Marcel To Write ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ For Universal And Focus
Sam Taylor-Johnson To Direct ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’

It is not surprising the role went to a newcomer. Nudity and erotic situations are plentiful in the book, and the movie will be no different, even though all involved are determined to get the film to an R rating. Johnson is repped by WME and Management 360.

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