Dakota Johnson in W Magazine


Photographed and directed by Luca Guadagnino. Styled by Sara Moonves.

There is a scene in Suspiria, Luca Guadagnino’s stylish homage to Dario Argento’s 1977 cult horror classic, in which Dakota Johnson, who stars as an American ballet student erolled in a German school run by witches, is controlling the body of another woman. You watch, hands half-covering your eyes, as Johnson unleashes her supernatural powers by dancing and sends the other woman flailing around the studio, her doby torn and twisted, spewing all sorts of fluids. Needless to say, the film is deeply disturbing- as it was to the actors when shooting began.

“I had crazy nightmares,” recalls Johnson, 29, who studied baller as a child and devoted a year to intensive training to get her doby in shape for Suspiria. “And people were getting injured. Our first assitant director broke his leg; I hurt my back. My muscle spasms got to a point where I couldn’t move.” The fact that the first day of filming occurred on Halloween, in the Grand Hotel Campo dei Fiori, a “dark and dank” (Johnson’s words) abandoned pile at the base of the Italian Alps, only added to the ominous mood. “Still, it was so much fun,” she says.

Helping allay the doom was the predominantly female cast – “a bunch of beautiful artists,” as Johnson describes them – that includes Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Chloe Grace Moretz and the actress and Rainer Werner Fassbinder muse Ingrid Caven, with cameos by the models Malgosia Bela and Alek Wek. Then there are the clothes – chic 1970s silk blouses, swingy dresses, and stacked knee-high boots courtesy of Giulia Piersanti, a knitwear designer for Céline who also oversaw the wardrobe for Guadagnino’s Oscar-winning 2017 film, Call Me By Ypur Name. “There were such amazing vintage and handmade pieces,” Johnson says. “And some fabrics that I wanted to re-cover chairs in.” But the biggest perk was working with Guadagnino, who also directed Johnson in the 2015 drama A Bigger Splash, as well as in this fashion shoot – “a funny little activity,” as she puts it, where she plays the role of a cuckoo housewife trussed up in haite couture. “I’m really invested in Luca as a person, collaborator, and artist,” she says. “You just want to go on any adventure with him.”

And now that this wild one has come to an end, Johnson is focusing on developing projects with her own company, Silhouette Productions. First up is a film based on Adam Cohen’s New York Times best-sellet Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck, about the shocking American practice in the 1920s of sterilizing “feebleminded” citizens. “I like projects,” says Johnson, who will star as Buck, “that are a little bit off the beaten path.”

Thanks to softsdecay and dakotajohnsonlife.

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