Madame Web | Dakota Johnson talks candidly about film’s struggles

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Dakota Johnson has opened up about Madame Web’s critical and commercial struggles, saying “I don’t make sense in that world”.

Sony’s latest entry in its ongoing series of Spider-Man films that don’t feature Spider-Man is Madame Web. Dakota Johnson stars in the film as the titular Cassandra Web, a paramedic who develops psychic powers. At this point, you probably don’t need us to tell you the film has not released to a warm reception and the internet is filled with thoughts about how this film can possibly have come to exist here, in the best of all worlds.

Dakota Johnson has thoughts too. Before the film released, she was dropping lots of none-too subtle hints about it. These included calling the experience of shooting the visual effects portions ‘psychotic' and pointedly stating that the final film didn’t resemble the one that she agreed to make.

Now the film is out, Johnson seems willing to talk transparently about being the star name in a quote, unquote ‘flop’. Even more remarkably, she’s talking this candidly whilst the film is still playing in cinemas. And make no mistake, she is talking candidly.

“It was definitely an experience for me to make that movie,” Johnson told Bustle. “I had never done anything like it before. I probably will never do anything like it again, because I don’t make sense in that world. And I know that now. But sometimes in this industry, you sign on to something, and it’s one thing and then as you’re making it, it becomes a completely different thing, and you’re like, ‘wait, what?’ But it was a real learning experience, and of course it’s not nice to be a part of something that’s ripped to shreds, but I can’t say that I don’t understand.”

Read more: Madame Web review | What did Sony expect to happen?

Johnson goes on to discuss how she feels Sony’s studio process is at fault for the film’s failures, a theme she has hinted at before.

“Decisions are being made by committees, and art does not do well when it’s made by committee,” she explained. “Films are made by a filmmaker and a team of artists around them. You cannot make art based on numbers and algorithms. My feeling has been for a long time that audiences are extremely smart, and executives have started to believe that they’re not. Audiences will always be able to sniff out [insert a rude word of your choice here]Even if films start to be made with AI, humans aren’t going to [Er, feel free to insert another equally rude word here] want to see those.”

Will Johnson’s words further the conversation about the way these films are made and of equal importance, the reasons why studios greenlight films like Madame Web?

These topics are generating lots of conversation right now and it certainly won’t hurt to have the film’s star adding to the dialogue.

Whether its enough to convince studios like Sony of the folly of commissioning films that are – as Johnson said – “made by committees” instead of hiring filmmakers with singular and interesting visions, who knows? What is surely a certainty though, is that we won’t be seeing Dakota Johnson suiting up as Madame Web again for a long, long time and nobody seems happier about that than her.

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