VENICE: Actress Dakota Johnson admitted Saturday that she had to see a shrink after playing the lead in Oscar-winning director Luca Guadagnino’s new horror flick, “Suspiria”.
The star of the sadomasochism-tinged “Fifty Shades of Grey” films made the confession as the movie was premiered at the Venice film festival.
“When you’re working sometimes with dark subject matter it can stay with you,” she told reporters.
“I absorb a lot of people’s feelings,” Johnson said.
“Then you talk about it with someone very nice afterwards. It is a really nice to (help you) move on from the project and my therapist is a very nice woman,” she said.
Johnson, 28, the daughter of actors Melanie Griffiths and Don Johnson, and the grand-daughter of Hitchcock favourite, Tippi Hedren, plays a young American Amish woman obsessed with a German modern dance group.
After auditioning for them she is drawn into a macabre cult of modern witches as fellow dancers disappear one after the other.
Guadagnino — maker of last year’s arthouse hit “Call Me By Your Name” — unleashes his most savagely baroque fantasies onto a stellar female cast that included his regular muse, British actress Tilda Swinton, in one of her best roles in years.
The film, a blood-soaked remake of horror legend Dario Argento’s 1977 chiller, is set in a creepy all-female dance school in Cold War Berlin hard by the wall.
Guadagnino told reporters that he was so obsessed with horror legend Argento as a teenager that he stalked him.
As a 14-year-old, he even drew his own version of the poster for the original “Suspiria” in his school notebook.
The following year the young Sicilian heard that the director, the father of actress Asia Argento, was in Palermo.
“Somebody called my mum and said ‘Dario Argento is in a restaurant in town, tell your son’,” said Guadagnino.
“I went alone and I stood at the window of the restaurant staring at him until he finished his dinner. He was really worried. I think he was paranoid thinking who is that young man looking at me!”
“I love Dario,” Guadagnino added. “I wouldn’t be here without him. I became obsessed by the screen masters and he is one of them.”
Johnson said despite the film’s tortured psychic atmosphere actually working on it “was the opposite in fact — one of the most joyous you could have.”
Distributors across the globe have been snapping up the film at Venice, but critics were divided. Some cheered the film at its preview screening while others sniped that Guadagnino had “invented a new genre, an unscary horror film”.