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Dakota Johnson, ‘Daddio’ Team on Making an ‘Impossible Film’

Dakota Johnson, ‘Daddio’ Team on Making an ‘Impossible Film’

Dakota Johnson, her producing partner Ro Donnelly and writer-director Christy Hall were on hand to celebrate the New York premiere of their upcoming film, Daddio, at the Tribeca Festival on Monday night.

The film, which also stars Sean Penn, follows Johnson’s Girlie as she gets in a cab, driven by Penn’s Clark, to take her from John F. Kennedy airport to her midtown Manhattan apartment. Over the course of their ride, the two have a “life-altering conversation” about the important relationships in their lives.

Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter that she was drawn to Daddio because of “the idea of humans being strangers and being so vulnerable with each other and connecting with each other and having a sort of life-altering conversation.”

The Madame Web star also produced the film alongside Donnelly through their TeaTime Pictures banner. “It was amazing,” she said of producing and acting in the film. “There was such a flow to everything on set, and it just felt very natural and very inspiring to be able to be an equal with everyone that I was working with.”

Donnelly echoed Johnson’s sentiment about the project’s story focusing on the power of human connection but noted that making a film almost entirely in a taxi cab with two people was not easy.

“It felt like a bit of an impossible film,” she told THR. “It’s just a story about two people who connect deeply as human beings without judgment, and we just don’t get to see that anymore. We were making the anti-blockbuster.”

Prior to Daddio, writer-director Hall had a career mostly as a playwright and creator of Netflix series I Am Not Okay With This. The indie film was originally imagined as a play before producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff, production designer Kristi Zea and director of photography Phedon Papamichael worked to make it into a feature.

Hall explained she wanted to invite people to experience intimacy and vulnerability through the film’s containment, which she feels is somewhere that “really interesting stories can lie.” The filmmaker also expressed admiration for Johnson’s ability to balance producing and starring.

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“She wears both hats so beautifully. It was incredible,” she said. “She’s actually the one that slipped the script to Sean Penn, and he read right away and said that he would love to do it. So honestly, working with both of them, they’re both masters of their craft, and it’s been one of the greatest gifts of my life.”

Up next for Hall is Colleen Hoover’s best-selling novel It Ends With Us film adaptation, which she wrote. The project stars Blake Lively and Justin Baldoni, who also directs.

“I have to say we all worked very hard to do that beautiful book justice,” Hall said of It Ends With Us. “And I really do believe in my heart that the fans are going to feel respected and taken care of and deeply loved because everyone who made that movie was just as passionate about that book as they are.”

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