Dakota Johnson is speaking out about portrayals of her three-generation Hollywood legacy.
Johnson, the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson and granddaughter of Tippi Hedren, opened up about her family’s first reaction to watching biopic “The Girl,” based on Hedren’s tortured working relationship with Alfred Hitchcock, who used emotionally manipulative and physically distressing methods to elicit the performance he wanted.
“We sat at HBO, my family, and watched that movie together,” Johnson recalled to Vanity Fair of watching Sienna Miller portray Hedren in the 2012 film. “It was one of those moments where you’re just like, How could you not have warned us? We’re in a room with some execs. Maybe this warranted a little conversation beforehand?”
As for her grandmother’s reaction, Johnson added, “You look over and you see a woman who’s just been reminded of everything she went through, and it was heartbreaking. She was an amazing actress and [Hitchcock] stopped her from having a career.”
Johnson went on to detail the “horrific” abuse Hedren endured while on set for Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and “Marnie.”
“What happened with my grandmother was horrific because Hitchcock was a tyrant,” Johnson said. “He was talented and prolific — and important in terms of art — but power can poison people.”
The “Lost Daughter” star shared that her mother Griffith received a Christmas present from Hitchcock as a young girl: Hitchcock sent her a tiny replica of his muse (and her mom) Hedren in a small coffin for a Christmas present.
“It’s alarming and dark and really, really sad for that little girl,” Johnson said of her mother. “Really scary.”
HBO’s film “The Girl” starred Sienna Miller as Hedren and Toby Jones as Hitchcock. “The Girl” was directed by Julian Jarrold (“Becoming Jane”) and written by Gwyneth Hughes (“Five Days”), set during the production of “The Birds.” Hedren later came forward that she was sexually assaulted by Hitchcock multiple times.
“The Girl” star Miller empathized with the abuse Hedren endured, calling it a “really, really traumatizing, appalling experience” for the classic film star.
“And not only how he treated her in the making of those films but in the aftermath. He kept her under contract. He wouldn’t release her to work with Godard and Truffaut, etc. who we were all trying to hire her, but just kept her for 10 years under this contract and watched her grow old, without making anything,” Miller said in 2020. “It was very sadistic.”