Sam Taylor-Johnson and Jamie Dornan are both impressed by Dakota Johnson's performance in Fifty Shades Of Grey

With so much excitement building over the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, it’s easy to forget that this is the first major film of leading stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson‘s careers.

Whilst Jamie has impressed critics in his role as serial killer Paul Spector in BBC TV drama The Fall, 25-year-old Dakota has mainly had a series of minor appearances in films so she was relatively unknown when she was cast in Fifty Shades back in 2013.

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson was instantly convinced that she was right to play Anastasia Steele in the adaptation of E L James‘ racy novel though.

‘She blew us out of the water,’ says Sam, 47.’Dakota has the ability to play so fragile and vulnerable, but with this underlying strength that makes you feel she is going to triumph.’

But before offering her the part, Sam wanted to make sure that Dakota would sizzle on screen with her Christian Grey.

‘We couldn’t offer her the part until we felt there was a definite chemistry between her and whoever was going to play the part of Christian,’ the director explains.

Luckily, Sam felt there was an immediate spark between Dakota and 32-year-old Jamie. The actors certainly seemed to get on well on set.

Dakota is very funny – and humour on a film set goes a long way,’ says Jamie. ‘But she also had the ability to be a very strong dramatic actress.

‘She’d be telling a joke one minute and breaking your heart on-screen the next – so she was perfect.’

We can imagine that it helps to have a laugh when you’ve got to film such intimate sex scenes together!

It’s not just Jamie that Dakota formed a bond with though. The actress says she has a ‘special connection’ with director Sam and it’s clear that she impressed everyone with her daring approach to playing Anastasia.

‘There are tough scenes in this movie,’ Sam tells Vogue. ‘Scenes where she had to be naked – and not just in the flesh.

‘But she was utterly fearless and brave.’

Read our review of the movie here

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Anna Francis