NEWS: New Interview with Jamie Dornan for Inquirer
Los Angeles—“I can’t believe I am talking about our sex life,” Jamie Dornan said with a laugh at one point in our recent chat. “This is like therapy,” he also cracked at one point.
He was candid, relaxed and good-humored, often breaking into his boyish chuckle.
The British actor was dressed in a Neil Barrett jacket, Everlane trousers and Salvatore Ferragamo shoes. “Size nine,” he quipped. He sported a full beard, which prompted the question: Does his wife, singer-actress Amelia Warner, like him with facial hair?
“We should call her and ask,” Jamie dished, his eyes lighting up. “When I first got the script for ‘Fifty Shades Darker,’ which follows four or five days after ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ ends, I had a stubble. I was like, great (laughs), because I hate shaving more than anything in the world. It’s the biggest bore. I think my wife would prefer me with a beard. I start a movie soon, and they want the beard, so that’s why it’s heavy.”
Asked about his reaction to reports that he has been fired from the two next “Fifty Shades,” even though these two movies had already been completed, Jamie joked again, “I’ll go check.”
He added, “Dakota (Johnson) and I were contractually obligated to make three movies, and we shot [parts] two and three back-to-back, so filming is finished.”
In between sips of coffee and bottled water, Jamie talked about “The Fall,” the TV series where he plays Paul Spector, a serial killer; Dakota Johnson and their next two “Fifty Shades” films, where he reprises his Christian Grey character; “The Siege of Jadotville,” where he portrays Irish Commandant Pat Quinlan in early 1960s Congo; his life with Amelia and their two daughters in a country house in Somerset, South West England.
“I’m impressed at myself; how I am sitting here,” Jamie said as he sat in an office in West Hollywood. “I get very antsy. I’m usually bouncing off the walls.”
Excerpts from our conversation:
How do you shake off your role as a serial killer in “The Fall”? How has playing a guy who’s into S&M impacted your sex life? I’m not into that (S&M); my wife isn’t into it. Obviously, there’s a huge market for it. [But] it doesn’t interest me at all. So, I don’t think it has had any influence on our sex life. I can’t believe I’m talking about our sex life (laughs)!
In answer to the first part of your question, I feel that certainly with Paul Spector, because it’s been four and a half years, and it’s over now. As weird as that is to say, I have loved every second of inhabiting such a horrible person. It’s bittersweet that it’s finished, because I feel that I know him so well.
There are aspects of him that I’m fond of—and it’s hard to shake off. I’ve been lucky with “The Fall,” because we shot it in Belfast, where I’m from. But I don’t lives there anymore.
It was good that I was able to come home, be in my own head space and manage to get myself geared up for whatever horrific things I had to do the following day. It was genuinely an uncomfortable place to put myself in, something that is so far from who I am. But, it was enjoyable.
I feel bereft that it’s over because, as my wife said the other day, “Complex roles like that sometimes happen only once in a career. They don’t come along very often.” I’m lucky I had the opportunity to play a character like that.
You’re making a mark with two roles: an S&M guy and a serial killer. When you take your kids on play dates, what kind of responses do you get from parents? Will my kids see any of my work (laughs)? No. To be honest, we live in the countryside—in rural England—so any play dates have been with people who know me and my work. So, I haven’t had too many of those scenarios yet.
Our eldest has started nursery or kindergarten. I bring and pick her up, and I’ve had a couple of funny looks. But you never know what it is that they recognize you for. In London, that experience would be more heightened. But we chose to live a quiet life. We open our doors, and there’s just sheep and lamb.
How has the success of “Fifty Shades” changed your life? A lot more people know who I am. It opens doors in the industry. I have to be honest—if you’re in a movie that makes over $600 million at the box office worldwide, you can get films like “The Siege of Jadotville” and “Anthropoid” made. I wouldn’t have been able to do projects that I was desperate to do had I not been in a movie that made that much money.
What about in terms of the attention you get from fans? Post-“Fifty Shades,” the fundamentals of my life didn’t change. But again, we live in the middle of nowhere. I panic at 9:30 at night if I’m not asleep, because I’ll be up with the kids at 5:30 in the morning. We have such a quiet life.
There are isolated situations, however, like if I’m in LA, I have to go out to dinner where there are so many paparazzi—and they’re so bloody rabid. So, those nights where I’m exposed to it, I feel like a different person. But that’s probably just 10 nights of my life in a year. The rest of the time, it’s sheep.
Is there anything that still shocks you? I don’t care about the whole nudist aspect of it. I wasn’t brought up a prude (laughs). I’m not saying that my parents were walking around naked in the house—far from it. But I come from that liberal background. It’s just a job.
How do you look at these men that you portray, from “The Fall” to “The Siege of Jadotville,” who are from extreme ends of morality? Every character should be treated as a fresh start. I haven’t played a woman yet (laughs). I’m not quite (Eddie) Redmayne—not just yet. But I will get there.
How did filming “Fifty Shades Darker” in France go? We don’t focus on Paris massively. They (Christian and Anastasia Steele) also go to the South of France. We were in bloody Nice when the attacks happened—really horrific.
But it was strange because I stayed in the same hotel room that I was in when I did “Marie Antoinette,” my first-ever job 12 years ago. They brought me to my room, and I was like, same room! It was freaky. So, as far as my career is going, it isn’t really going anywhere (laughs).
We then shot in the opera house beside the hotel, which was where I had my first-ever acting scene, as well, in “Marie Antoinette.”
Can you talk about how having a new director, James Foley, impacted the next two films, especially how it affected you and Dakota? Both Dakota and I are very close to Sam Taylor-Johnson. I’m seeing her tonight. So, the fact that there’s a new energy at the helm, that could backfire for Dakota and me. We’ve already done one, so we had more to say with regard to the next two. We were in a slightly higher place of authority.
But we still needed someone to steer the ship—and Jimmy Foley made it seamless. It was tricky for Jimmy, as well, coming to a ship that has already set sail, and the first one was very successful. But he wanted to put his own stamp on it—and it worked out very well.