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Madame Web: Dakota Johnson Stares into the Abyss of the Film Industry

Madame Web star Dakota Johnson feels like things are "really f*****g bleak in this industry," and no one wants to take any creative chances.

Article Summary

  • Dakota Johnson criticizes the film industry's reluctance for creative risks.
  • Johnson's indie film experiences highlight the industry's fear of bravery.
  • Connection suggested between Johnson's comments and Madame Web's superhero genre.
  • Disdain for streaming execs' mistrust in artists, impacting film diversity.

Ever since the press rounds for Madame Web started, it seemed like no one was particularly enthusiastic about it. However, there is a chance that Dakota Johnson is just a little annoyed at the industry as a whole, and this film is just an amalgamation of everything that she is really starting to see as wrong. In an interview with L'Officiel (via Variety), she spoke about an indie film she starred in called Daddio and that it was a real chore to get it sold even with her and Sean Penn as the stars. And it wasn't just the selling process that was hard, but even making the film was an uphill battle; as Johnson said, "It took a lot of fighting to get that made. People are just so afraid, and I'm like, 'Why? What's going to happen if you do something brave?' It just feels like nobody knows what to do, and everyone's afraid. That's what it feels like. Everyone who makes decisions is afraid. They want to do the safe thing, and the safe thing is really boring."

Madame Web:
Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced), Cassandra Webb (Dakota Johnson), Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney), and Mattie Franklin (Celeste O'Connor) in Columbia Pictures' MADAME WEB. Photo By: Jessica Kourkounis © 2024 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

"Safe" is what many people describe most superheroes as these days, so drawing the correlation between her current disdain for the industry and Madame Web seems likely. Johnson went on to say that she is "discovering that it's really fucking bleak in this industry. It is majorly disheartening. The people who run streaming platforms don't trust creative people or artists to know what's going to work, and that is just going to make us implode. It's really heartbreaking. It's just fucking so hard. It's so hard to get anything made. All of the stuff I'm interested in making is really different, and it's unique, and it's very forward in whatever it is." Oh dear, this film might be bad, but is it "If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you" bad? Obviously, there is no proof that just because Johnson is saying these things while she is promoting a superhero film, a genre that many say is destroying the industry as a whole, cannot be ignored. Johnson isn't holding back, though, and you have to wonder how annoyed Sony is right now.

Madame Web: Summary, Cast List, Release Date

"Meanwhile, in another universe…" In a switch from the typical genre, Madame Web tells the standalone origin story of one of Marvel publishing's most enigmatic heroines. The suspense-driven thriller stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in Manhattan who may have clairvoyant abilities. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she forges a relationship with three young women destined for powerful futures…if they can all survive a deadly present.

Madame Web, directed by SJ Clarkson, stars Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O'Connor, Isabela Merced, Tahar Rahim, Mike Epps, Emma Roberts, and Adam Scott. It will be released on February 14, 2024.

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Kaitlyn BoothAbout Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Film critic and pop culture writer since 2013. Ace. Leftist. Nerd. Feminist. Writer. Replicant Translator. Cinephillic Virtue Signaler. She/Her. UFCA/GALECA Member. 🍅 Approved. Follow her Threads, Instagram, and Twitter @katiesmovies.
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