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Dakota Johnson's Indifference During 'Madame Web' Press Tour Has Elicited Praise — Yet Rachel Zegler Was Not Allowed The Same Grace

Photo: Tinseltown, Fred Duval / Shutterstock
Dakota Johnson, Rachel Zegler

By now, it seems most people are aware of Marvel's newest addition to their studio's Spider-Verse franchise, "Madame Web," which premiered on February 14 to less than stellar reviews by both critics and moviegoers alike. Since its debut, the film has flopped with one of the lowest debuts for a movie centered on a Marvel character.

The editing of "Madame Web" has been called into question, with many bad reviews noting the cuts between shots being awkward and jarring, along with the CGI not being its best. At the center of "Madame Web" stars Dakota Johnson, who plays a New York City paramedic with clairvoyant powers, and seems to be the only bright spot in the press junket for fans. 

Johnson's nonchalant attitude toward the movie has been making the rounds on social media, with many people finding it funny that even the film's leading woman isn't too fussed about the project. However, Johnson's online praise is quite the opposite of how other actresses were received during press junkets for their respective projects — especially Rachel Zegler. 

Dakota Johnson's press run for 'Madame Web' has charmed many of her fans on social media.

If you've seen any of the clips floating around on Twitter of Johnson's various interviews for "Madame Web," then you've definitely noticed that it seems the actress doesn't quite want to be there. She doesn't hold the movie to very high standards, and it's clear that she isn't too impressed with her role in it.

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In an interview with MagicFM, Johnson admitted that she doesn't know when she'll see the movie, jumping between saying that she "probably won’t see it" to vaguely stating that she will "someday." While that clip has started circulating online, many people failed to show the rest of what she'd said, which was that Johnson doesn't quite like watching any of the movies that she's in.

   

   

"For me, it’s a way to not have, like, an existential crisis," the "Fifty Shades of Grey" actor explained. "Not watching my movies is like self-care."

In another interview with Entertainment Tonight, Johnson claimed that she didn't quite bond with a lot of her younger castmates, consisting of Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O’Connor, and Isabela Merced. The actress said, "The three of them really bonded, and then there was me."

Sweeney, O'Connor, and Merced admitted that Johnson never really replied to their text messages and left them on read, but fans on social media pointed out that Johnson is quite older than her co-stars, and therefore, probably doesn't relate to them.

She did make sure to emphasize that she enjoyed working alongside them, adding, "I adore them, and I think they’re so talented and it was so fun to have them around."

   

   

Johnson has also admitted to not having seen too many other Marvel movies, especially Sony's Spider-Man franchise, which many people found equally funny since "Madame Web" exists in that same universe. The fact the lead actress in this project seems quite low-energy and indifferent has added to all of the praise and love that Johnson has been getting recently. 

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While Johnson has received more love and adoration from fans for her attitude during this press tour, a comparison has been made to her treatment versus actress Rachel Zegler, who caught major hate for the comments she made during press for the "Snow White" live-action adaptation coming to theaters in 2025. 

A double standard exists between Dakota Johnson and Rachel Zegler's press tour comments.

A Twitter user named Trish pointed out the "jarring" double standard that exists between Johnson and Zegler, explaining that while Johnson is being praised for how she's acting on the "Madame Web" press tour, Rachel Zegler would've been lambasted online if she said the same things.

If Zegler admitted that she had no plans on watching the movie she was in, didn't interact at all with her co-stars, and couldn't name a single movie in the franchise, she would've been met with endless hate. Especially since it wouldn't be the first time that Zegler was on the end of unnecessary hate.

During an interview with Variety in September 2023 at the Disney Fan Club’s D23 Expo, where fans got a first glimpse of the new "Snow White," Zegler explained that she'd cried and was overwhelmed when she saw herself on the screen as Snow White before praising the crew who helped make the movie possible.

However, fans zeroed in on Zegler's comments about the film taking on a more "modern edge," compared to the cartoon version. "I just mean that it’s no longer 1937," Zegler said.

"We absolutely wrote a ‘Snow White’ that ... she’s not going to be saved by the prince, and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love; she’s going to be dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be and that her late father told her that she could be if she was fearless, fair, brave and true."

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In another interview at the D23 Expo, Zegler told Entertainment Weekly that there’s a big focus on Snow White’s love story in the original film "with a guy who literally stalks her." She called that part of the story "weird" and said they "didn’t do that this time."

"We have a different approach to what I'm sure a lot of people will assume is a love story just because we cast a guy in the movie," she said. "It's really not about the love story at all, which is really, really wonderful."

Zegler received massive amounts of backlash for her comments, especially when she admitted that she'd only seen the original "Snow White" once when she was a child because it had been quite scary to her. People on social media not only criticized her for being cast in a remake of a film when she'd only seen the original once but that her comments about the modern take on the story were "anti-feminist." 

However, the main reason why Zegler received hate in the first place was that she was the first Latina actress to play a Disney princess. When her casting was announced, many people on social media argued that the "skin as white as snow" line from the original Grimm Brothers' description of the princess was the reason Zegler shouldn't portray her, which is just ridiculous.

Zegler's backlash after being cast as Snow White was similar to Halle Bailey after she was announced as Ariel in the live-action remake of "The Little Mermaid." People tried to bring up the argument that in the original version of the story, Ariel is played by a white woman with bright red hair, and that should be the case for the live-action version as well.

   

   

This racist backlash against both Bailey and Zegler proves that there is a broader issue within Hollywood's lack of opportunities for actors of color to portray iconic roles traditionally associated with white characters. This idea that certain roles in Hollywood are only reserved for white actors not only limits opportunities for actors of color but reinforces the idea that diversity is not needed when that is far from the case.

Little Latina girls and Black girls are able to see themselves as Disney princesses through both Bailey and Zegler, and that in itself is profound and should be cherished.

It's incredibly frustrating to see actresses like Dakota Johnson be hailed as "relatable" and "quirky" for her attitude during the "Madame Web" press tour, while Zegler was criticized for showing her excitement for the upcoming "Snow White" movie, while also having an unpopular opinion about the original cartoon version.

The ingrained bias and inequalities that exist not only in society but in the entertainment industry are maddening to witness, and while Johnson isn't at fault here, it's time for Hollywood to create a more inclusive industry where everyone's voice can be heard and respected.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.