There are many a repelling pairing in this world of ours: Oil and water. Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks. Common human decency and comments sections. But all these diametrically opposed duos pale in comparison to the utter dearth of chemistry between Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. This would be perfectly acceptable were they any other two celebrities in Hollywood, but as they are the stars in the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey, and one-fifth of the total run time is literally sex scenes between the two of them, that awkwardness is a little bit troubling. So do these two utterly despise one another? Or are they just really, really good at looking like they do?
Even if we were to give them the benefit of the doubt — Maybe they're just awkward people! Maybe they hate press tours! — it seems like it takes them monumental effort just to be in the same room together. This gloriously awkward interview with Glamour, in which they talk listlessly to a floating head on an iPad, seems to be all the proof necessary of their mutual loathing. They're awkward answering all of the awkward questions, like "Would Harry Potter be a dominant or a submissive," but they're also awkward answering all of the other questions too. It looks like they would be much more comfortable if their interview chairs were at least three yards away from each other. At one point, Johnson glares at Dornan's arm, like "Don't you dare put that hand on me."
Continuing their press tour for the movie which opens on Friday, Dornan and Johnson attended a fan screening of the movie, and like magnets with the same charge, seemed like being forced to stand close to each other took tremendous effort.
Good god, woman, relax those shoulders!
They also visited the Today show and talked to Matt Lauer about what filming the sex scenes was like, and what happened after the director said cut. Lauer said he'd heard offhand that once the tape stopped rolling, Dornan would immediately run over and cover up Johnson's naked form. "She’s tied up, she’s exposed, she’s naked. Of course when we called cut, someone had to step in — I’m not just gonna leave her lying there," Dornan responded. Sure, try to pass it off as chivalry, but don't act like you weren't just so grossed out by sex that you had to cover up the naked lady's boobies as fast as you could.
Speaking of being uncomfortable, the actor's led on more than once that filming the sex scenes with Johnson was pretty... terrible. "They were uncomfortable to a point, but you know, we were surrounded by people that we had built the trust with and that we respect, so I think that we all got it to a place where we actually took the discomfort out of it, and we just got to see it and approach it in a professional way and enjoy it." Yes, that's how I like to think about sex. Professionally, and almost devoid of discomfort.
"So what?" you might think. Maybe they're just bad in interviews. Possibly, but if so, they should definitely work on that, because their appearances are fifty shades of foot in mouth. Johnson said of the sex scenes on Today last summer (when they sat on the couch about a foot apart): "It's not, like, a romantic situation. It's more, like, technical and choreographed and less ... it's more of a task." Such passion.
Maybe it's not so hateful, though, after all. In response to Johnson's "it's just a task" attitude, Dornan quickly turned it around and reassured the interview that he and Johnson did, indeed, have chemistry on the Fifty Shades set. And as he told Glamour about filming scenes in the Red Room, "I felt very protective and aware that it probably wasn't easy for her to be put in those situations, and exposed. And Sam, as a director, has an amazing quality of making everyone feel very relaxed." It'd be difficult to feel empathy for and protective of a costar you really just hated.
For Johnson, the scenes in the Red Room were the toughest, but she did seem to trust Dornan a lot: "It was a very closed set — my mom told me that it's my right to ask for that during intimate scenes, so it seemed like (Jamie and Sam and I) were in this little world together." You would definitely not want to be alone in a little world with someone you couldn't stand.
So while it does seem that they hate each other at times, maybe they just aren't good at showing their feelings... They could just be extremely reserved. You never know — maybe the movie's premiere will prove everyone wrong and their chemistry will jump off the screen.
Images: Getty Images