Dakota Johnson says she 'wouldn't have a career' without the 'Fifty Shades' franchise

Dakota Johnson is "happy" to be done with the "Fifty Shades" franchise, but that doesn't mean that she doesn't appreciate the incredible effects that it -- and its fans -- have had on her acting career.

When Dakota Johnson spoke to AOL Entertainment over the phone during a recent "Fifty Shades Freed" promotional tour stop in Paris, she began the conversation by bringing up the latest wild news story making headlines.

"Did you see this thing about Homeland Security papers being left on a plane?" she asked, referring to the Super Bowl anti-terrorism documents that were, well, left on a plane.

SEE ALSO: Dakota Johnson's 'Fifty Shades' style evolution

"I have," I responded with a nervous laugh. "Reading the news between interviews, I assume?"

"Reading the news and also [thinking], What the f-ck is going on?" Johnson replied. "I think people are so freaked out by the world that they’re losing their minds -- especially me."

Au contraire! Throughout our interview, the actress could not have been more thoughtful, self-aware and open as she was. Johnson, unapologetic in her both her willingness to be picky about who she works with and her decision to largely forgo social media for the sake of her mental health, continues to learn more and more about herself and her abilities with every project she takes on, and that excites her.

And as she begins to look beyond the "Fifty Shades" franchise, Johnson will surely always be thankful for the opportunities that it's given her, going so far as to tell us that she "wouldn't have a career" without it.

Below, AOL Entertainment talks to Dakota Johnson about wrapping up the "Fifty Shades" film franchise, pushing herself to become an even better actress and her appreciation for her fans.

See photos of Dakota Johnson at "Fifty Shades" premieres over the years:

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Evolution of Dakota Johnson at 'Fifty Shades' premieres
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Evolution of Dakota Johnson at 'Fifty Shades' premieres
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Dakota Johnson attends the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan attend the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: (SUN NEWSPAPER OUT. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE J. HOGAN GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 11: Actress Dakota Johnson attends the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' premiere during the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival at Zoo Palast on February 11, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)
BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 11: Actress Dakota Johnson and actor Jamie Dornan attend the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' premiere during the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival at Zoo Palast on February 11, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Target Presse Agentur Gmbh/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Actors Jamie Dornan (L) and Dakota Johnson attend the 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' New York Fan First screening at Ziegfeld Theatre on February 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actors Jamie Dornan (L) and Dakota Johnson speak onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09: Dakota Johnson attends the 'Fifty Shades Darker' - UK Premiere on February 9, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09: Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend the 'Fifty Shades Darker' - UK Premiere on February 9, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 08: Dakota Johnson attends the 'Fifty Shades Darker' premiere at Kinepolis Cinema on February 8, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Fotonoticias/FilmMagic)
US actress Dakota Johnson and British actor Jamie Dorman pose at their arrival to the presentation of 'Fifty Shades Darker' held at Kinepolis cinema of Madrid, Spain on 08 February 2017. The film will screen upcoming 10 February. (Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 08: (L-R) Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan attend the 'Fifty Shades Darker' premiere at Kinepolis Cinema on February 8, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Fotonoticias/FilmMagic)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 07: US actress Dakota Johnson (daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson) attends the European premiere of 'Fifty Shades Darker'(German title 'Fifty Shades Of Grey - Gefaehrliche Liebe) at Cinemaxx on February 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Isa Foltin/Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 07: British actor Jamie Dornan and US actress Dakota Johnson (daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson) attend the European premiere of 'Fifty Shades Darker'(German title 'Fifty Shades Of Grey - Gefaehrliche Liebe) at Cinemaxx on February 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Isa Foltin/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 02: Actress Dakota Johnson arrives at the premiere of Universal Pictures' 'Fifty Shades Darker' at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on February 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 02: Actors Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson arrive at the premiere of Universal Pictures' 'Fifty Shades Darker' at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on February 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 02: Actors Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend the premiere of Universal Pictures' 'Fifty Shades Darker' at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on February 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 06: Dakota Johnson attends the 'Fifty Shades Freed - 50 Nuances Plus Clair' Paris Premiere at Salle Pleyel on February 6, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Actor Jamie Dornan (L) and actress Dakota Johnson pose as they arrive to attend 'Fifty Shades Freed - 50 Nuances Plus Claires' Premiere at Salle Pleyel in Paris on February 6, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 06: Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend 'Fifty Shades Freed - 50 Nuances Plus Claires' Premiere at Salle Pleyel on February 6, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
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Check out our full conversation with Dakota Johnson below:

How does it feel to be wrapping up this era of your career?

It’s pretty amazing. I feel very grateful and proud of these movies. I feel proud that we finished them. We got to the end, and I’m still alive and that is a win. [Laughs] I just feel kind of stoked, honestly. I’m happy, and I hope that the fans like the movie. I think the third one is really focused on making the fans happy, and that’s really important to me. They’ve given me the most incredible life. I’m excited to move forward and keep making movies -- ones that maybe I don’t have to be naked in.

The fans of the "Fifty Shades" franchise are incredibly passionate and protective of this material. What's it been like interacting with and hearing feedback from fans over the last several years? 

I can’t say that I interact and hear feedback much, because I don’t have social media, so I don’t really get that conversation which I think is really good for my mental health. I would not be able to handle that sort of critique and judgement. I’m such a private person that I just can’t vibe with that, but the thing that I experienced the most with the fans is their incredible support and their loyalty. It was truly amazing to me. The fact that they keep coming back to see the movies and being equally as excited about them is amazing. Without that, I wouldn’t have a career. I wouldn’t have the platform that I do.

What have you learned about yourself or your acting craft while working on the three "Fifty Shades" movies?

I've learned so much. I've learned about the kinds of people that I want to work with and that, truly -- with conviction and grace and self-worth -- I can really make any one of my dreams come true with hard work. I’ve also learned that I don’t need to compromise myself or my self-worth for my dreams. I’ve learned that it’s okay to stand up for myself, even if that means that I’m not necessarily liked. That’s okay. I’ve learned that I don’t know the depths of my abilities or what my bounds are. There are no walls or cap on what I’m capable of doing. Every job I do, I’m surprised and I learn. I’ll never get used to this job, and I’ll never get bored of it or feel totally comfortable with it.

You said you learned that you don't know the bounds of your own abilities. What's something recently that you were able to do while filming that surprised you?

I did this movie "Suspiria," and I did 90% of my own dancing [in it], and that was an accomplishment. That was the kind of job that I was so terrified of in the three years that we were prepping it, that until the last day I was like, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t do this,” until the last day when I said, “Okay, I did it.”

A lot happens in "Fifty Shades Freed." There's a marriage, a honeymoon, a new house, a kidnapping of a relative. How did you approach taking all of this on during filming?

It is a lot. It’s so much. I don’t know [how I tackled it], because I didn’t choose what she goes through. Mostly, with each thing she faces, she makes a choice whether to be empowered or to just kind of lay down. 9 times out of 10, she chooses to be empowered. Maybe even 10 out of 10.

"Fifty Shades Freed" is out now in theaters.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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