Dakota Johnson lands queer role because of her infamous viral moment with Ellen DeGeneres

Dakota Johnson is starring in a brand new coming-out dramedy that has a surprising connection to her infamous viral moment with Ellen DeGeneres.

Am I Ok? stars Johnson as Lucy, a woman struggling to date after coming out in her 30s. The upcoming film is based on the life of Lauren Pomerantz, an Emmy-winning writer for The Ellen DeGeneres Show who also wrote the film's screenplay, and marks the directorial debut of lesbian comedian Tig Notaro, who co-directed the movie with her wife Stephanie Allynne (The L Word).

The Madam Web star scored the role of main character Lucy in part because of her comically awkward 2019 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where DeGeneres claimed Johnson didn't invite her to her 30th birthday party. Johnson jokingly called DeGeneres out on her mistake, saying, "Actually, no, that's not the truth, Ellen," explaining that she did invite her but never got a response.

Degeneres then points out that Notaro did a surprise comedy set at her birthday party, and Johnson cheekily responds, "She's my favorite comedian…other than you."

This moment went viral on social media and then had staying power in part because hilarious internet sleuths found a way to connect Johnson's appearance on the show to the downfall of DeGeneres' popularity by way of My Chemical Romance and 50 Shades of Grey.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Notaro's performance at her party led to her and Johnson becoming friends, ultimately resulting in Johnson landing the starring role in Am I Ok?

Pomerantz didn't have an actress the character based on her own life when she penned the script, but Notaro told her that she and Johnson share an "awkwardness" that made her perfect for the role.

"She was fantastic, and I'm just incredibly grateful that she did it," Pomerantz told EW. "She captured everything I could ever have hoped for in that character — the confusion, the insecurity, all of the inner turmoil I think really came out."

In the film, Johnson plays 32-year-old Lucy, who realizes that she's a lesbian, and her journey to navigate the queer dating world for the first time at the same time that her lifelong best friend Jane (Sonoya Mizuno) is moving from Los Angeles to London for work.

Pomerantz explained that making a film with other queer women Mande the whole experience so much easier. "We got to talk about it and talk about the characters and really explore the relationship and those feelings," she said of working with Notaro and Allynne. "It was very easy to talk to them about everything because Stephanie had the experience [of coming out later]. And Tig is just very smart and hilarious and creative. So it was great. I loved working with them. ...There was definitely a shorthand in being like, oh, remember these feelings? Yes, I had those too."

Am I Ok? begins streaming on Max on June 6, 2024. Watch the full trailer below.