Dakota Johnson: After the pandemic, ‘people are not behaving normally’


Dakota Johnson covers the latest issue of Town & Country to promote The Lost Daughter. She stars alongside Olivia Colman, and the film is Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut. The film got great reviews throughout the film festival season, and Maggie picked up several awards along the way. While the subject matter is dark/heavy, the vibe from the promotional tour is super-fun. Maggie, Dakota and Olivia f–king love each other. Olivia thinks Dakota is one of the coolest chicks in the world. And Dakota definitely seems to be lightening up in her 30s. I think she’s still a sensitive soul, but she’s in her Dance And Be Merry phase of life. Some highlights from T&C:

Cast dance parties & tattoos: “It was a lot of Talking Heads, the Cranberries,” says Johnson, who—sometime later, back at the hotel—used a stick-and-poke kit to give Olivia Colman her first tattoo. (“Maybe it was me being completely seduced by this gorgeous person and wanting her to think I was cool,” Colman says. “Or maybe it was my midlife crisis.”) Summing up this post-vaccine return to joy, Johnson says, “The thing is, people are not behaving normally. If you go to a party, you f–king rage.”

She spent her 16th birthday at the Sunset Tower Hotel: “It was me and a bunch of girls in the penthouse. I’m pretty sure I drank a bottle of Hypnotiq. No one should know what that is. It’s a liqueur. It’s bright blue.” Once properly drunk, she and her girlfriends ran across the street to the infamous Saddle Ranch, where tourists ride a mechanical bull. Did Johnson take a spin? “No,” she says, “I did not ride the bull… Not that night.”

How she handled the pandemic: “I was like, ‘Whoa, this is wild.’ All of a sudden people were in complete and utter fear.” Like everyone who was lucky enough to shelter in place, she made some strange decisions, including buying a house in Colorado—sight unseen—because she had spent time in the state as a kid.

On her character in The Lost Daughter: “Nina was this girl who is so much more than she appears to be and is so hungry to be seen. It was an honesty that I hadn’t seen in a film about women who are imperfect and cut open and not always pretty.”

The film asks questions about motherhood, sacrifice, self-worth, and regret. Did Dakota speak to her mother about it? “I actually spoke to her a few weeks ago. I was like, ‘Is there something that you dreamed of doing that you never did?’ And she said, ‘No. I wanted to be a mother, and I wanted to have a family.’ That was her thing.”

On playing Anne Elliot in Persuasion: “Part of it was being a woman who was in the wrong family in the wrong place and was never seen.She has the hugest heart but is just kind of stuck.”

[From Town & Country]

I still, still, still say that Dakota is too hot to play Anne Elliot. Anne is supposed to be formerly cute, but kind of “the bloom is off” and a tad frumpy. Dakota is too pretty and too young-looking. People simply won’t buy that she feels like she lost her one chance at happiness, her one great love. As for the rest of it… the more I read about The Lost Daughter, the more intrigued I am. Dakota is building a really fascinating CV for herself, especially with the smaller films and smaller roles she’s taking. Also, I have not partied at all since the pandemic, but I did go to a buffet which probably counts.

Cover & IG courtesy of Town and Country.

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55 Responses to “Dakota Johnson: After the pandemic, ‘people are not behaving normally’”

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  1. Normades says:

    Dakota is building the post nepotism/franchise career that Kate Hudson could have had but didn’t seem motivated to do so. Agreed that Dakota is making great decisions in her career. I just really don’t like her with Chris Martin though.

  2. Stef says:

    She did a great job in The Lost Daughter and I loved her and Olivia Coleman together. It was a little dark but interesting and real when it comes to different perspectives on motherhood.

    Dakota looked SO MUCH better without bangs. Looking forward to when she ditched that dated fringe.

    • BrainFog 💉💉😷 says:

      I really liked the movie and I watched it mostly because of Dakota. The topic was great and it carried an important message. I don’t think the movie is dark, I just think it’s realistic. We should talk much more about how much of a burden motherhood really is and that it is not for everybody, instead of putting a ribbon on it and declaring that it’s every woman’s dream. It is not.

    • AmyB says:

      I enjoyed The Lost Daughter as well! Dakota, Olivia Coleman, and Jessie Buckley (who played Olivia’s character in the past) were amazing!! Though it was a bit dark at times, like @BrainFog said, it does speak about the unspoken aspect about motherhood: how fucking hard it is, and how it isn’t for everyone!! Most of the time you see women go on about how perfect their lives are since becoming a mother, it is rainbows and butterflies lol, but let’s be real! It is really hard sometimes, and you want to pull your damn hair out!! While most won’t up and leave their children like Olivia’s character did, I think it is a good character study – and brilliantly played by the actors. It’s a great film!

  3. TeamMeg says:

    I want to see Olivia’s tattoo! Where is it, and what is it of? Great story—can’t wait to see this movie. I love Dakota and the incredible OC. xx

  4. Silver Charm says:

    “The thing is, people are not behaving normally. If you go to a party, you f–king rage.”

    I like(d) her a bunch but these interviews (her defending some awful people she worked with) and her blind nepotism is tiring.

  5. Maggie says:

    IS it me or are we all still inside the Pandemic? I live in New England and the only thing raging here is Omicron. I am struggling with “Since the Pandemic”.

    • Twin falls says:

      I don’t know personally know anyone who is still behaving as though it were 2020. We’re masked and vaccinated and boosted but our kids are in school in person, sports and other extracurriculars are happening, restaurants are open, people travelled and/or gathered for the holidays. I follow your local epidemiologist and she’s full of real time data and not once since Omicron has she said we should all be in lock down again.

      • Andrea says:

        In Ontario, Canada I am behaving the exact same way I was in 2020. Indoor dining, gyms, and movie theatres are closed. I only had lunch with two friends last year at restaurants; they are very hesitate to go out in public. We mostly hung out at each other’s houses or went for walks. I did not travel in 2020 or 2021 for Christmas for I would have gotten trapped in the US had I tested positive. Totally different world culturally up here!

    • lucy2 says:

      We absolutely are, and I was ready to yell about her saying it was done, but her actual quote seems ok to me. I think she’s talking about post vaccine, pre-Omicron.

      I just had to briefly run out, and only half the people here are wearing masks. My county alone had over 20K cases in the past 2 weeks or so.

    • Christine says:

      I know at least 5 people personally who were boosted and still got Omicron, yet mask mandates were lifted and nobody in public really seems to be worried or care. It’s bizarre

      • mosia says:

        I’m in europe. I went to have dinner with friends, 7 people, all vaccinated, we took test before, but we hang out for a long time. We all now have covid.

    • cassandra says:

      Came here to make that comment.

      We’re still deeply in the pandemic, people are just trying to ignore it. It will go away if we pretend it isn’t there!

    • Tiffany :) says:

      In my large city, 2/3s of hospitals are on “diverting” mode, where they tell ambulances to go somewhere else. Back home in the Midwest, the hospitals just put out joint ads saying “HELP US. WE ARE OVERWHELMED.”

      If people are behaving as if the pandemic is over, they are contributing to it still being here.

    • Suzybontime says:

      Yeah, I’m like what? This person thinks the Pandemic is over? Geezus, I don’t know. How blind can you be.

      • Jilliebean says:

        I’ve had my first two vaccines. I wasn’t able to get my booster, cuz I was fighting a sinus infection and bronchitis. Then I got COVID. It’s been rough but I’ve mostly been ok, however I’m still extremely fatigued and have chest pain/shortness of breath and I gotta go to work tomorrow.

    • North of Boston says:

      Exactly! What is this “after the pandemic” of which this article speaks. Where I am, also in New England, we are still plunk in the middle of The Darkest Timeline. I’m back to primary shopping by delivery, wearing an N95 or KN94-5 when I do have to go inside somewhere, and Netflix. I do have to work in the office, but stay at a distance from others and the few visitors are checked for vax status and mask up. It’s just me and my bubble and take out aside from work.

      On a positive note, we’re gaining daylight and are one day closer to spring every day, so there’s that!

  6. girl_ninja says:

    I don’t think that Dakota is too pretty at all, for any role. She’s pretty plain to me and has always been. She has a face that you can play up or down, like a blank canvas. She’s a really talented actress though, I wish she would do more comedy.

    And we are all still IN the

    • Selene says:

      I agree, her face is one in a billion. Even in 50 Shades, she was underwhelming based on the novel’s description of Anastasia. I agree that she’s quite skilled.

    • Emma says:

      Dakota is “jolie laide.” Meaning, good for Anne Elliott (who is maybe 26-27, NOT actually old, and NOT ugly).

    • Suzybontime says:

      And not on the bright side.

  7. Who ARE These People? says:

    Yes, we’re still in a pandemic. The pandemic is still happening. The pandemic is not over. The World Health Organization has not announced an end to the pandemic. Pandemic, pandemic, pandemic.

    I live in Ontario, Canada. It’s raging here, too.

    Bet Dakota made a profit on that house in Colorado.

    • Andrea says:

      I am in Ontario too. Our ICUs and hospitals are filling up quickly. Also, paramedics are having issues handling all the calls, which never happened before during the pandemic.

  8. Callie says:

    Did I miss the ending of the pandemic???? I am so exhausted by people acting like it’s over; they are just as bad as the people claiming covid is just a cold.

    • tempest prognosticator says:

      That was my question. When did the pandemic end and why wasn’t I notified?

  9. Tessa says:

    I guess she missed the record Omicron wave, huh?

  10. Ayala says:

    WTF do you mean “after”???

  11. Cc says:

    +1 to everyone aware that the pandemic is NOT over.
    I had been looking forward to the ‘Persuasion’ adaptation that was going to star Sarah Snook, but its studio cancelled it because it didn’t want to compete against Johnson’s project.

  12. smee says:

    Dakota looked stunningly beautiful in the Lost Daughter….so much so, that I googled it while watching it, because I wasn’t sure it was her!

    I never considered her a great beauty, but with the black hair….

    • lucy2 says:

      I watched the movie and no idea it was her. I saw something about it later and was like “wait, she was in that??” I was doing other stuff while watching part of it, so I must have missed her name in the credits.
      I thought it was a good film, Maggie did a nice job with it.

    • Zan says:

      Agreed. I watched it and thought, “She’s really gorgeous!” Something about how she appears in photos doesn’t do justice so how beautiful she is in that film.

  13. Andrea says:

    She is probably like my friend in NC who declared the pandemic over once he got vaccinated then caught covid 3 months later and had the worst 10 days of his life (according to him). He had partied hard in bars 3 days prior to coming down with covid.

  14. BrickyardUte says:

    While I think the language implying we are “past the pandemic” is a big part of the reason we continue to see massive spikes, I do appreciate the experts I have heard talk about the massive work of our public health organizations to ensure our world economy does not come to a drip like it did in 2020. Vigilance with keeping up to date on vaccines, masking, testing and quarantining are more essential than ever as we continue to see positives for Omicron rise. But I am grateful for the work of our public sector professionals who’s tireless efforts are keeping more of our vulnerable populations working who cannot afford to miss paychecks. I share my fellow Celebitches frustrations about those who act like this is all past tense and are triggering more shutdowns because of their selfish and ignorant actions.

  15. Case says:

    NOTHING irks me more than people using the term “post-pandemic” now (I’m not saying Dakota said this). WHO will let us know when the pandemic is over; there will be no mistaking it. We can’t even say we’re post-lockdown right now because many places are having lockdowns and strict rules because this still very active and rapidly changing virus is wreaking absolute havoc on hospitals, schools, and more, while those of us who are vulnerable are entering yet another year of shielding — haven’t traveled, haven’t seen extended family or even been to a movie theater in 2+ years.

    But ANYWAY, I loved The Last Daughter and can’t stop thinking about it. I felt like I should write an essay about it after, lol. I watched it because I really enjoy Dakota and thought she and Olivia were both fantastic in it. Great character study.

    • Jayna says:

      No mention of Jessie? She has a big part in the movie and is amazing. All three actresses were fantastic.

  16. Willow says:

    Covid is here to stay. Eventually this won’t be a pandemic, it will just be life with covid.

    • Case says:

      But calling it “after the pandemic” now is simply incorrect and irresponsible. Yes, it will always be with us. But it won’t be hundreds of thousands of cases per day that throw major parts of society like schools and hospitals into total crisis.

  17. Eenie Googles says:

    “After the pandemic”

    *looks at the world*

    Sorry, when?

  18. CWS says:

    She talked about the pandemic being over because this interview took place before the rise of Omicron.

  19. BBG says:

    Here in Florida, people are acting as if it’s over, or manageable, or nothing more than a cold because MONEY. My very tourist driven county has a 33% positivity rate, and no one cares. Employees are working while sick in many instances because of staffing issues, and no one will even whisper “shut down” in the middle of a peak tourist season that is busier than ever. I had some guest the other day say to me, “well, at least your state is FREE.” I said, “Ma’am, they don’t care one tiny bit about your freedom, or if you get sick, or if you die, as long as you take a vacation and leave all your money at the State line.”

    • Joanna says:

      I was just coming to say the same thing! I live in Florida too and that’s how my area is acting. Not completely but about 60%. I’m personally fully vaccinated and had my booster. I had a customer ask me about our mask policy since only some employees wear masks. I let her know that Gov DeSantis passed laws prohibiting businesses from enforcing mask mandates. I hate him so much. I tell everyone who worships him that he’s vaccinated and they say, well, it’s about freedom. No dumbasses it’s about keeping tourism alive and you working. How can people not see this?

      • Andrea says:

        I am an American living in Toronto Canada and this is why I haven’t been in the US in 2 years(I used to go every 2-3 months pre pandemic). Our indoor mask mandate never went away. I went to Quebec in August and they had a mask mandate also. I feel most comfortable in a place where indoor mask mandates are enforced. My parents who live in NY think that me having been in such a different environment for almost 2 years, I’d probably have a panic attack in one of your malls etc with all the unmasked people. I took my parents to an outdoor antique market in September up here and masks were enforced due to crowds…and it was outdoors!!

        I have a lot of Canadian friends who used to go to Florida or Arizona or the states to shop or cruises who also haven’t left Canada. I wonder how much money Americans may be losing from Canadian tourists because of our cultural differences with how we respond to the panedemic. I used to day trip, shop in Buffalo and have dinner with my friends there monthly.

      • North of Boston says:

        And with DeSantis, it’s about positioning himself for a presidential run. He doesn’t even really care about businesses or the economy; just as with keeping schools open and mask free is not about improving lives of children but about him getting to bellow that HE won’t let people put “muzzles on kids!”

  20. trudy says:

    The movie was irritatingly unbelievable, I get the agenda of aging woman embrace and behold but unnecessarily slow and fragmented

  21. Sof says:

    Eh, it’s obvious from the “oops, I impulse bought a HOUSE, silly sentimental me” comment that the rich and famous lived the pandemic differently from us, hence the “post-pandemic” term, it’s business as usual for them.

  22. Lena says:

    She’s getting most of the coverage it seems for lost daughter (as far as the actors) but who I was really impressed with was Jessie Buckley and Olivia Coleman. To me Dakota just played a young pretty girl and many many actresses could have done the same part as well. It was unusual only because she usually doesn’t play thirst traps like that. Which all actresses should do once at least in their career so there won’t be a movie/Tv executive saying “yeah but are they f—-able?”

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I thought Jessie Buckley was AMAZING! She really sounded so much like Olivia, and her emotional turmoil was just so vibrant and clear.

    • Jayna says:

      Yes, I was surprised. Dakota has a small supporting role. Olivia is the lead, with Jessie having the second-most airtime. Jessie should have been shown more in the trailer. I will say it was so refreshing to see a movie with three women all without a bunch of filler and/or botox in their faces, expressive faces.

      Olivia was wonderful in it. She just holds your attention in every scene she is in. It is one of her best performances. Take that Hollywood with few leading parts for women over 40 playing a complicated woman. Well, Maggie is now one of the female directors taking care of that.

      Jessie was phenomenal. Such a fluid actress. You can’t really take your eyes off of her in the movie.


    I don’t care when she was interviewed, the pandemic is very much not over. And I don’t know when things will return to “normal.” There is likely another upcoming variant we don’t know about yet. I don’t know when it will seem “safe” to pick up where we left off in 2019.

    My 30th birthday is in four months. It wasn’t until yesterday I truly realized that I spent all of my late 20s in a pandemic. Everything I wanted to do for myself, before I have children, that time is gone. It’s scary to think about.

    I know everyone feels that huge chunk of life missing, I just hadn’t personally quantified mine before.

  24. Teddy says:

    I’ve been Team Dakotah ever since that Ellen interview. (Anyone who hasn’t seen it should google — it’s worth it.) She’s very funny and not at all try-hard. Wishing a great career for her. And lol the buffet comment!

  25. aggie says:

    I like Dakota but she has no business playing Anne Elliot. Anne Root and Ciaran Hinds were the best cast of Persuasion, hands down.

    • Ladiabla says:

      I like her too, but think this as well. If I were casting, I’d love to see Carey Mulligan as Anne, Hiddles as Capt Wentworth. I think I heard Henry Golding was cast as Mr. Elliot in the netflix movie version with Dakota…I guess they’re making him extra tempting to Anne lol. But yes, Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds were perfection, love that movie.

  26. shanaynay says:

    I don’t get it. I might be the only one, but I don’t think she’s that great an actress. Also, I find her to be just okay. She’s pretty, but she’s not drop dead gorgeous.