Fifty Shades of Gray actor Dakota Johnson kicked off Sundance Film Festival 2023 with a special speech for filmmaker Luca Guadagnino who received the International Icon Award. She made a pithy joke in her speech referring to Luca’s Oscar-winning movie Call Me By Your Name and blaming actor Armie Hammer when she said she got the role of the peach in the coming-of-age story. (Read also: Senior programmer Charlie Sextro on Sundance Film Festival hope and joy: ‘Everyone on our team has…’)
At the Opening Night: A Taste of Sundance presented by IMDbPro, Dakota Johnson, who took the stage to present the award, said in her speech that she was initially offered the role of the peach in Call Me By Your Name, but had to run unavailable due to scheduling conflicts. In one of the most talked about scenes of the movie, Elio, Timothée Chalamet’s character, performs a sexual act on the peach, which is then discovered by Oliver, Armie Hammer’s character. “Luca had asked me to play the part of the peach, but our agendas clashed. Thank goodness I would have been another woman trying to eat Armie Hammer.” Dakota joked in her speech.
Dakota was referring to the allegations Armie Hammer faced a few years after the film’s release, of cannibalistic fetishes, sexual assault, and abuse by various extramarital partners. “It’s been five years since that movie premiered here, and Luca hasn’t stopped taking us to exciting places. Who knew cannibalism was so popular?’ said Dakota, playing Luca’s latest movie Bones and All, to giggles and cheers from the audience.
Dakota went on to praise the director with whom she collaborated twice, in 2015’s A Bigger Splash and 2018’s Suspiria. “In my mind, and probably in your mind too, Luca Guadagnino is the epitome of an international icon. He wears Prada all the time,” she joked. After that, Luca accepted the award, and while he did not respond to the actor’s peach joke, he called Dakota “my dear friend” and then expressed his love and gratitude for the Sundance Film Festival, where he arrived with his debut film. I Am Love, way back in 2010.