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Dakota Johnson cracks Armie Hammer cannibalism joke at Sundance

Dakota Johnson had fun with some off-color jokes that referred to Armie Hammer and the cannibalism scandal that torpedoed his career, while presenting an award to director Luca Guadagnino at the Sundance Film Festival Thursday night.

The actor, who worked with Guadagnino in films “Suspiria” and “A Bigger Splash,” elicited some groans, laughs and cheers after she made a humorous reference to Hammer, another famous star of a Guadagnino film, while presenting the International Icon award to the director at a dinner that kicked off the 10-day festival.

“It was here at Sundance in 2017 that audiences experienced a film that is uniquely characterized by Luca’s iconic approach to storytelling,” the “50 Shades of Grey” actor said, per Variety. “The vision and the style that is ‘Call Me By Your Name.’ Sadly, I wasn’t in that one.”

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Dakota Johnson attends the premiere of 20th Century FOX's "Bad Times At The El Royale" at TCL Chinese Theatre on September 22, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA – SEPTEMBER 22: Dakota Johnson attends the premiere of 20th Century FOX’s “Bad Times At The El Royale” at TCL Chinese Theatre on September 22, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

“Call Me By Your Name” co-starred Hammer and Timothée Chalamet as lovers on vacation in Italy. It features a notable scene when Hammer’s character Oliver discovers Chalamet’s Elio performing a sexual act on a peach. Hammer’s character then eats the peach.

“It was unfortunate,” Johnson said. “Luca had asked me to play the role of the peach, but our schedules conflicted. Thank God, though, because then I would have been another woman that Armie Hammer tried to eat.”

Johnson is referring the scandal that engulfed Hammer’s ascending career after the acclaim of “Call Me By Your Name.” He was accused in 2021 of sending explicit messages to multiple women about his sexual fantasies, including rape, mutilation and cannibalism. Several alleged victims also accused the actor of sexual assault, which he has denied.

In her Sundance speech, Johnson’s cannibalism jokes didn’t end with her Hammer quip. She brought audiences up to date with Guadagnino’s career. In 2022, the director released “Bones and All,” a romantic horror film in which young lovers, played by Chalamet and Taylor Russell, struggle with their compulsion to literally eat other people.

“It’s been five years since (‘Call Me By Your Name’) premiered here, and Luca hasn’t stopped taking us to exciting places,” Johnson quipped. “Who knew cannibalism was so popular?”

In some ways, it’s not out of character for Johnson to be blunt about the mischief and misdeeds of other celebrities. After all, she’s the star who called out Ellen DeGeneres on her TV show for being disingenuous — a viral moment that helped open the floodgates for people to come forward and allege that DeGeneres wasn’t really that nice of a person.

But it may be surprising that Johnson made jokes at Hammer’s expense, given that she previously worked with him on the movies “Social Network” and “Wounds.” In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she also expressed sadness about “cancel culture” and how Hammer and other male stars she’s worked with, such as Shia LaBeouf and Johnny Depp, saw their careers seriously damaged by scandals involving sexual abuse or domestic violence. Johnson said these men had never acted inappropriately around her and hoped there could be second chances for some people.

“I feel sad for the loss of great artists,” Johnson said. “I feel sad for people needing help and perhaps not getting it in time. I feel sad for anyone who was harmed or hurt. …  I do believe that people can change. I want to believe in the power of a human being to change and evolve and get help and help other people. I think there’s definitely a major overcorrection happening. But I do believe that there’s a way for the pendulum to find the middle.”



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