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Commentary: Dakota Johnson ideal for mysterious role of Anastasia

Turning 20 years old did not prevent me from approaching “Fifty Shades of Grey” like a 13-year-old girl.

In order to finally introduce myself to Anastasia Steele, the main character I had heard so much about, I waited until my mom went for her daily run, stole the first book of the trilogy from her nightstand, sat on the couch and thumbed through the pages to find the famous passages that detailed the dominant-submissive relationship of Ms. Steele and Christian Grey. I had about 40 minutes before my mom returned home, so I quickly skimmed the story and anxiously hid the book underneath the couch upon my mom’s entrance.

The reason I skipped the story and went straight for the sex scenes, though, started out as a genuine fascination of how literature can be written to stir the passion of women worldwide. However, it culminated into a captivation of Steele’s character as she searches for sexual satisfaction.

Pain through pleasure is not the only contradiction in E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” series. Steele’s character is a conflicting one, and it is epitomized in her shy yet uninhibited antics as she participates in sexual activities that go from risqueto “Oh my God, no way.”

And now, Steele must translate to the silver screen and her unknown face will be played by equally unknown actress Dakota Johnson.

With more than 16 million copies of the series sold in the U.S., audiences (or perhaps more accurately, women) had reasonable expectations for casting, and anticipation for the announcement has built since the first shade of grey was even printed. For whatever reason, a good portion of the population wanted a well-known, somewhat-established actress to be tied up and flogged. Public backlash for Steele’s casting has come in fair and expected amounts, given big names from Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”) to Scarlett Johansson (2012’s “The Avengers”) were speculated possibilities for the role.

Because the character is one of pop culture fame and the envy of females worldwide, the role of Anastasia Steele is one that could either make or break an actress’ career. It is a huge responsibility to get caught in these handcuffs, and for ScarJo to pout through pleasurable pain while simultaneously wearing spandex in production of “The Avengers” sequel can sort of downplay the seriousness that many readers take this role.

The fact that the audience cannot recall many of Johnson’s past roles sort of maintains an element mystery in Anastasia’s character. Instead of seeingKhaleesi of “Game of Thrones” being forced into compromising positions, we plainly see Anastasia — completely unassociated.

It is no doubt Johnson’s career will achieve merit following her role, and rightly so. Whether the rest of her acting career is plagued by this “sexually submissive slave” categorization is ultimately up to Hollywood, but achieving the proper portrait of Steele’s timid confidence in the 2014 movie will be to the delight of female fans.

This is no time for Johnson to anxiously hide under her couch.

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