A 10-Year Old Dakota Johnson Took Her First Tiny Acting Role Very Seriously

Dakota Johnson has been staunchly committed to her craft ever since her first day on the job. The actress began her career at age nine and has since made a name for herself starring in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" franchise.

The "Suspiria" actress was first exposed to the industry through her star-studded family. Her mother, Melanie Griffith, is an established actress known for a range of films like the rom-com "Working Girl" (1988) and the Brian De Palma thriller "Body Double" (1984). Johnson's father, Don Johnson, was known mostly for his leading role in "Miami Vice" (1984). Johnson's step-father for much of her upbringing was Antonio Banderas, who is known for films like "Desperado" (1996) and his voice-acting role in the "Shrek" franchise as Puss in Boots.

"Crazy in Alabama" is a colorful 1999 dramedy set in 1965. The film stars Johnson's mother, Melanie Griffith, as an outgoing young woman that dreams of leaving her Alabama hometown to become a television star. When her husband becomes too violent, she decapitates him and heads for Hollywood to pursue her ambitions. She eventually returns home to care for her children and fight in a local battle for civil rights but must evade conviction for her crime. Johnson plays one of Griffith's children in the film alongside her younger sister, Stella Banderas.

There are no small parts

Johnson may have only been nine at the time, but she took the role "very seriously," the actress tells Vanity Fair. She only had a couple of lines, but says that she still "demanded that I have time with the vocal coach." She rehearsed those few lines so much that she still remembers them decades later.

The young actress was incredibly prepared for her first on-screen role, but was saddled with a major obstacle in the form of an unruly co-star. "My little sister also played my mom's youngest daughter, and she was a baby," the actress explains. Babies and young children are notoriously difficult to work with, given how emotionally unpredictable they are, but even more so for a child actor at her very first gig. "Every time Antonio, my stepfather, her dad, yelled 'Action,' she'd just burst into tears, she would be sobbing the entire take." This was difficult for everyone on set, of course, but Johnson "was the one holding her the whole time, like running down the street holding this crying, crying baby."

Johnson treats all her roles just as seriously

Well into a storied career now, Johnson has maintained this level of focus for every project, even when shooting in difficult conditions. The actress underwent intense training in German expressionist dance for months prior to shooting "Suspiria" (2018), Johnson tells W Magazine. The film was shot in the dead of winter in a hotel with "no central heating." "It was a dangerous set," the actress concedes. Her extensive preparation and the unwelcoming environment made shooting "Suspiria" a grueling experience for Johnson. Still, her training and the setting both contributed to what was undoubtedly one of her best performances so far.

The familiar wisdom that "there are no small parts, only small actors" definitely rang true for a young Dakota Johnson. The young actress may have been small in size, but her ambitions were enormous. She took the tiny role as seriously as possible, and it led her to years of success in show business. Johnson may have become a star, but she clearly hasn't lost this incredible passion for acting. She appears to approach every project with the same level of commitment and gratitude, from "Crazy in Alabama" to "Fifty Shades Darker" to "Cha Cha Real Smooth."