As Fifty Shades of Grey actress Dakota Johnson moves further away from her Anastasia Steele era, she’s been challenging herself with completely different roles as of late. Following her chilling part in the Suspiria remake and heartfelt moments in The Peanut Butter Falcon, Johnson helped take on the true story of Matthew Teague’s 2015 Esquire article about his family’s struggle with terminal cancer and the mutual pal who helped them when they needed it the most with Our Friend, which also stars Casey Affleck and Jason Segel.
The new release tackles a rough topic as Dakota Johnson’s Nicole grapples with cancer alongside her two kids, husband (Casey Affleck) and family friend (Jason Segel). Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film takes its audiences through the complexities and emotions of the family dealing with the life-altering situation. One especially sharp moment at the center of the film comes when Johnson’s Nicole decides to create a bucket list that involves dying her hair blue and singing on stage with Katy Perry.
When speaking to CinemaBlend about checking off bucket list boxes as Nicole for Our Friend, Dakota Johnson talked about filming one moment where her character fulfills her dream of being a grand marshal at New Orleans’ Mardi Gras. To her recollection:
The Mardi Gras scene was funny because Mardi Gras is a serious thing and when we shot that, it was not Mardi Gras time and we also shot in the middle of the night. I think I was off that day and I had a 1:30 a.m. call time, so it was truly the middle of the night and it was so weird. So that was fun… doing a Mardi Gras parade on one float in the completely asleep town just felt really silly and weird.
We’re so suspended in the reality of a movie when we’re watching it that we don’t necessarily think about the circumstances that go into recreating moments such as those in Our Friend. Although it looks like Dakota Johnson may have been able to wave from a float in character at the famous celebration in New Orleans, it was a nearly 2 a.m. ordeal involving a single float during a time the Mardi Gras wasn’t even happening in Louisiana. Sounds like it was a bit of a strange ordeal for Johnson, but that’s movie magic for you!
I found the bucket list scene in Our Friend to be one of the most emotionally evoking moments in the drama, because it showed how a family and community coming together during a dark time can really make someone’s life special and mean all the difference to them. When we think we have all the time in the world, we often put off the notions Nicole brings up to her family during Our Friend.