Dakota Johnson comes from a long line of leading ladies.
The actress is the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, two of the greatest actors of their time. Griffith is also the daughter of Tippi Hedren, who was often referred to as Alfred Hitchcock’s muse and an icon of the era.
In a profile with Vanity Fair, Johnson discussed her career and her family, sharing some scary experiences that her mother lived through following Hitchcock’s obsession with Hedren.
“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.”
Johnson shared that, when her mother was a little girl, Hitchcock sent her a small coffin wrapped up as a present. Inside, there was a Tippi Hedren doll.
“It’s alarming and dark and really, really sad for that little girl,” Johnson said of her mother. “Really scary.”
Hedren’s professional relationship with Hitchcock was dramatized in the 2012 HBO movie The Girl, with Sienna Miller portraying Hedren and Toby Jones starring as Hitchcock during the production of The Birds in the early 1960s. The project touched on the toxicity of the pair’s time together, which was widely reported to have involved predatory obsession and subsequent torment that hurt Hedren’s future work.
Johnson also looked back at attending a screening for The Girl, with her grandmother, and revealed they were shocked at having to view these experiences onscreen without receiving a warning beforehand.
“We sat at HBO, my family, and watched that movie together,” Johnson said. “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? 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 he stopped her from having a career,” Johnson said.