Actress Dakota Johnson arrives for the premiere of the film 'Suspiria' presented in competition on September 1, 2018 during the 75th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido. (AFP/Filippo Monteforte)
If Dakota Johnson had to work hard to prepare for the erotic “Fifty Shades”, it was nothing compared to the physical demands of “Suspiria”, a horror movie in which much of the fear comes through her ability to dance like a woman possessed.
A remake of the 1970s cult classic, “Suspiria” is set in a dance school in Berlin where Johnson’s character Susie, a naive young hopeful from the cornfields of Ohio, arrives to find strange powers at work.
The older women at the academy are impressed by her instinctual, violent dancing, and quickly give her the lead role in an upcoming performance - although the viewer suspects they have something more sinister in mind.
“It was amazing to discover that I could do that with my body, but it was a lot of work, it was a lot of training,” Johnson told Reuters in Venice, where “Suspiria” is competing for a Golden Lion.
“I worked for six months before filming. I was filming another movie in Vancouver, the third ‘50 Shades’ movie, and I would go after work or before to train with the trainer.”
The 28-year-old has another horror movie in the works - “Bad Times at the El Royale” with Jeff Bridges and Chris Hemsworth.
“I think I went through a little horror phase recently,” Johnson said, before realising that could be mis-heard.
“I said ‘horr-or’ phase, to be clear,” she said, jabbing the air with her finger for emphasis, and adding: “Not ‘whore phase’. Oh God! I don’t know!
“I’m interested in making all kinds of films. I love cinema and I love movies, so I really don’t know what I’ll do next. But the ones coming out are a little, a little ‘different’.”
The Venice Film Festival runs to Sept 8.