Dakota Johnson Almost Quit 'Suspiria' Days Before Filming

While some actresses might think that taking on an iconic role in the remake of a beloved horror film would be a no-brainer, Dakota Johnson's doubts nearly got the best of her when it came to Luca Guadagnino's Suspiria. The actress confirmed that, while she was initially excited for the film, the pressure of the role nearly saw her abandon the project days before cameras started rolling.

"[Guadagnino] said, 'Have you seen Suspiria?' And I said, 'No.' He said, 'I want to make ‘Suspiria’ with you and Tilda [Swinton],'" Johnson recalled with Variety. "And then I watched the original, and I was like so in. And then, about a year before we started filming, I started training. I started working with different coaches and a ballet instructor and a trainer and different strength trainers to change the shape of my body for when we did start filming. And even leading up to that, so much rehearsal, a month beforehand, every day, eight hours a day, five, six days a week, and then I still had this f-cking meltdown four days before filming."

She added, "I was in tears in his office, like, 'I’m a fraud. I can’t do this.' It was awful, but now we just joke about it."

In the film, a darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the troupe’s artistic director (Swinton), an ambitious young dancer (Johnson), and a grieving psychotherapist (Lutz Ebersdorf). Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.

While Johnson was able to overcome her trepidation about the endeavor, she detailed that the darker elements of the film stuck with her longer than she anticipated, leading her to seek professional help to sort out those emotions.

“First of all, I was not psychoanalyzed and I hope I never will be,” Johnson shared at a press conference promoting the film. “I find sometimes when I work on a project and — I don’t have any shame in this — I’m a very porous person and I absorb a lot of people’s feelings. When you’re working sometimes with dark subject matter, it can stay with you and then to talk to somebody really nice about it afterwards is a really nice way to move on from the project. My therapist is a really nice woman.”

Despite that intense darkness being experienced on set, Johnson also revealed that shooting the horror film also provided her with incredibly joyful moments.

“It was the most fun and the most exhilarating and the most joyful that it could be,” Johnson admitted. “It’s mischievous and play[ful] and I love it more than anything. It wasn’t that this film sent me to a ward, I just have a lot of feelings.”

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Suspiria is currently in select theaters.

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