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Dakota Johnson never imagined she'd be in the superhero world, until she read the "gritty" script for Madame Web

 Dakota Johnson as Cassie in Madame Web.
Dakota Johnson as Cassie in Madame Web.

Madame Web star Dakota Johnson has opened up on what drew her to the Sony Marvel movie – and no, it doesn't really have anything to do with getting to play a comic book character.

"I hadn't ever thought that I would be in a superhero world," the actor candidly tells GamesRadar+ and the Inside Total Film podcast ahead of the flick's release. "But then when the script came along, I loved the idea of a superhero being a young woman whose mind was extremely powerful, and I liked the dynamic between her and these three young women; how they genuinely protect and support and care for each other. And so, it just seemed different to me and it was way more grounded and real and gritty. I just thought it was an interesting way to experience that world."

Directed by Jessica Jones' S. J. Clarkson, Madame Web follows New Yorker Cassie (Johnson), who suddenly finds herself with clairvoyant abilities following a near-death experience. One random evening, she sees a horrifying vision of a man murdering three teens on a train and saves them all by intervening, subsequently forcing the foursome into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the determined, ruthless killer. Sydney Sweeney, Adam Scott, Celeste O'Connor, Isabela Merced, and Tahar Rahim also feature.

While she's presented as awkward and a bit of a reluctant hero towards the start of the movie, Cassie is no stranger to rescuing people, given her job as a paramedic. "She's on this, like, unending, insatiable quest to save other people because she wasn't able to save her mother. I mean, that's very..." Johnson laughs nervously. "But, you know, I think that's at the root of it for her. It's a journey that she'll be on forever, and has always been on; to try and make up for this huge loss in her life."

Tahar Rahim as Ezekiel Sims in Madame Web
Tahar Rahim as Ezekiel Sims in Madame Web

Contrary to Johnson, French-Algerian actor Rahim, who plays antagonist Ezekiel Sims, had dreamed of doing a superhero movie since he was a young boy, but prior to Madame Web, those sorts of roles had proved elusive to him.

"Back in France, it's not our mythology, so you don't get those types of offers very often," he explains. "So if and when it happens, you're interested, happy, excited, but then you have to read the script. The script was good. The story was great. The character as well, and [S.J.] and I seemed to have a beautiful relationship and great conversations. I needed those three elements to be there. Everything was there. So all I had to do now was to work, and I loved it."

Madame Web releases on February 14. While we wait, check out all the new superhero movies heading our way. Keep an out for a future episode of Inside Total Film podcast to listen to more of our chat with Johnson.