“I got you balloons!” Dakota Johnson shouts above a din of barking dogs, her hands cupped around her mouth in the shape of a heart.
As the iron gates of her mother’s Hollywood Hills house creep open, the auburn-haired actress is half-revealed on the stone steps beneath a dense tangle of helium-filled Mylar. She is wearing black Gucci boots and high-water vintage boys’ Levi’s in the ideal normcore wash. “Is this an appropriate outfit for meeting your landscape architect?” she asks, pulling on a crimson mohair sweater by The Elder Statesman (its designer, Greg Chait, is a pal). “Do I look like an adult who can convincingly use words like night-blooming?”
Of course she did not get me balloons. These are the detritus of the twenty-seventh-birthday party that her mother, Melanie Griffith, threw her a few nights before. The festivities culminated at Jumbo’s Clown Room, a strip club in Thai Town where Johnson watched what she describes as the saddest pole dance in the history of pole dances. We are now snaking through the hills in a soccer-mom SUV that has to suffice until the arrival of the forest-green 1995 Ford F150 that her grandfather has promised to send up from his house in Missouri. Our destination: the mid-century bungalow that Dakota, then living in downtown Manhattan, bought last winter in a clear concession to the fact that she was, is, and very likely will always be a creature of Hollywood. It was only the second house she saw, but she fell hard for its modernist pedigree; the architect Carl Maston built it for his own family in 1947.
“Find the girl,” Alfred Hitchcock instructed Universal Studios in 1961. He’d seen a TV commercial for Sego, a popular diet shake, featuring a blonde model. Tippi Hedren got the call on Friday, October 13, and was offered a contract before she ever saw “Hitch.” Hedren’s first film, The Birds, earned her a Golden Globe; the second, Marnie, a psychoanalytic mystery-romance with Sean Connery, swept her into Hollywood’s front ranks. It also unraveled Hitchcock’s obsession with his leading lady—Hitchcockian in itself—as he commissioned a plaster cast of her head, built her dressing room beside his studio-lot bungalow, and, worst of all, made offensive advances. Hedren rejected him. “I’ll ruin your career,” he seethed. “Do what you have to do,” she said as she left his office, slamming the door. They didn’t talk again.
Fifty-five years after that first phone call, Hedren has written a memoir, Tippi (published this month by HarperCollins), not only about Hitchcock but also about Charlie Chaplin, who directed her in A Countess from Hong Kong, and decades of work at Shambala, her sanctuary for lions, tigers, and other big cats. There are also two other women: daughter Melanie Griffith and granddaughter Dakota Johnson, shown here with “Mormor” (“grandmother” in Swedish; Hedren’s parents were Scandinavian)—the first time the trio has been photographed together for publication. “The three generations just made me think about Mom, born in 1930, and me, in the 50s, and Dakota, in the 80s,” says Griffith. “The progression of life is really beautiful.” The women are close-knit, but they don’t give one another acting advice. “No, we never even talk about it,” Hedren says with a laugh. “Isn’t that interesting?”
Source: Vanity Fair