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Staff   /   September 04, 2016   /   1 Comment

You can read below the New Interview of Jamie for The Times. You can find 4 High Quality Pictures in the Gallery.

Jamie Dornan 34-year-old model turned movie star, sado-masochist in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, serial killer in BBC Two hit The Fall, former boyfriend of Keira Knightley – greets me by pulling me into a manly, friendly, bear hug (because that’s the kind of bloke he is), to which I respond with an attempt at an air kiss (because that’s the kind of woman I am), only the configuration of his shoulder and my face means I end up burying my lips in his right clavicle and kissing him tenderly on the neck, which is embarrassing.

This is not quite the first time we’ve met – that was seven years ago, when Dornan was part of an article I was writing about fitness magazine Men’s Health. He was supposed to be discussing his workout regime with the magazine’s editor, only, “I wasn’t in very good shape. And they gave me these really massive shorts that I would not wear … Not that I wear tiny shorts … And then they’re like, ‘Tell us your workout regime!’ And I was thinking, ‘I’m not doing one!’ I had to make it up. ‘I start every day with 100 push-ups.’ Can you think of anything worse than waking up and doing 100 push-ups? There’s no one in the world who does that. Well, there probably is … Actually, I’ll do it, if I’m bored and I’ve got time on my hands. I did it yesterday.”

So Dornan and I have already met – however, we are most certainly not on neck-kissing terms. He’s a married father of two and a movie star; it seems unlikely we will ever be on neck-kissing terms. Which is a shame, because (you may have noticed) he is incredibly good-looking. Dictionary definition of a very handsome man. I enjoy watching Dornan pose on set for the photoshoot before he comes to say hello. I watch him narrow his eyes and brood down the camera lens, which is especially mesmerising.

I bring up the subject of his looks during our interview.

“Oh God,” he says, flaps a bit, goes quiet. He’s been garrulous, honest and open to this point; sweary, unprecious, unguarded, funny. He’s Northern Irish and grew up in middle-class Belfast; he has thus far talked on a wide range of subjects, things I hadn’t even asked him to discuss, things that have little to do with the business of the day, which is promoting his new film, Anthropoid. Dornan is a chatterer. He’s been magnificently rude about the pretensions of some other thespians. “I hate when actors talk about leaving behind some f***ing legacy of work: ‘Well, I’ll always have my f***ing Hamlet in Stratford.’ Shut up, shut up! Twats.” He has talked about celebrity and how he finds it easy to avoid: “Unless you’re f***ing a Kardashian. I don’t mean you’re f***ing a Kardashian, I mean unless you are a Kardashian or maybe if you’re f***ing some type of Kardashian, then you’re probably the sort of person who is enabling attention and maybe seeking it … I guess if Millie [Dornan’s wife, Amelia Warner] and I started going to – excuse me, I couldn’t even name one nightclub in London any more …”

And he has talked about his introduction to acting. “The only prize I ever won at school was at 11 – I won the drama prize playing Widow Twankey in Aladdin. I’m happy that it was before people filmed everything, because then that would exist and … Saying that, I won the drama prize. I must have been decent.”

But then I ask him what it’s like to be a pin-up, and he grinds to a halt, stops meeting my eye, tries to duck the question.

“I’ve never seen me ‘pinned up’ anywhere,” he says, evasively and completely inaccurately.

There were shirtless shots of you on every bus stop in town, when the first Fifty Shades film was first released, I point out.

“Oh, oh, oh …” he blusters. He really isn’t posturing. Dornan is appalled by the conversational turn. There’s no hint of vanity in him. We’re sitting in a restaurant, the walls of which are covered in mirrors; he doesn’t cast even the most cursory glance at his own reflection at any point during our hour-long interview. This would be faintly miraculous in a normal person, but in an actor? I’ve had Hollywood heart-throbs openly stare at themselves throughout interviews.

“I’m going to fight that. I’m going to fight that,” Dornan continues, uselessly.

You can’t. It’s true. You are good-looking, I say. That’s why you became a successful model – contracted to Calvin Klein, to Dior. It’s why People magazine put you third on its Sexiest Man Alive 2014 list. And it is, let’s be honest, a factor in your being cast as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey, a role that requires you to be naked and take part in sex scenes.

“If people think that, well, that’s people’s response to me, the way I look, that’s fine. But it’s one of those things that, if you let that colour how you approach your everyday life, then you’ve got something to worry about. If you embrace the fact that people view you like that, you are absolutely f***ed.”

Perhaps the miracle of Dornan’s looks is that they haven’t especially dictated the shape of his acting career. He could have been doomed to serial rom-com leads, yet in the ten years since he got his break – as Count Axel Fersen in Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film, Marie Antoinette (“First audition I did and I got it! I thought, wow, this is easier than I thought … Then I realised after eight years of unemployment that it was a fluke”) – he’s played a mixed bag of characters. Fifty Shades’ sado-masochist and a literal serial lady-killer in The Fall; and now Jan Kubis, an exiled Czechoslovakian parachuted back into his occupied homeland during the Second World War, charged with the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, in director Sean Ellis’s Anthropoid. On top of that comes a Netflix film, The Siege of Jadotville, in which he plays an Irish commander fighting mercenaries employed by mining companies in the Congo in 1961. He is a psychologist in the thriller The 9th Life of Louis Drax, and will be back on our screens in a new series of The Fall this autumn.

Anthropoid, based on a true story, is a dark, period piece. He stars alongside Cillian Murphy (“If you’re an actor coming out of Ireland and you’re a man of my age, you can feel really influenced by what Cillian’s done”) and delivers a truly decent performance with an entirely credible Czech accent. Though it is undoubtedly offensive to express any surprise over this – for such a handsome man, Jamie Dornan is also a good actor.

Jan Kubis is a “flappable puppy”, Dornan says. “This guy is vulnerable … And I liked that, because I haven’t really portrayed anyone vulnerable.” One could argue that his part in Anthropoid stands in direct creative opposition to, say, his role in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, the money-spinning, critically derided adaptation of EL James’s S&M shagfest (of which, Dornan has just finished filming parts two and three).

Was he perhaps trying to adjust the balance somewhat with Anthropoid? He says absolutely not. He doesn’t give a damn about the intellectual snobbishness that Fifty Shades is subject to. “My family are doctors. My dad’s a doctor, my mum was a nurse, my stepmother’s a doctor, my uncle’s a doctor – they do jobs that really matter. I think that thing of actors taking to their grave that they never did a ‘studio film’, they didn’t ‘sell out’ … Shut up!”

So there’s really no game plan here?

“I guess there is an unconscious thing of playing a couple of dark characters in a row, then you’ve got your eye on something a bit lighter …”

Anthropoid is not light, I point out. You perhaps need to voice a cartoon fish next?

“Oh, I’d love to do that. Because I have kids now [two daughters, Dulcie, two and a half, and Phoebe, six months] and …”

The Fall and Fifty Shades aren’t great viewing for children? “No. I’d love them to be able to watch some of Daddy’s work.”

Dornan didn’t plan to be an actor. “I wasn’t one of those kids.” What did he want to be? A model? “No!”

He loved sport – he comes from a sporty family, played a lot of rugby. “Although I struggle to admit it, the reality was: I was not good enough to play [professionally].”

What would he have played professionally, in an ideal world?

“I’m not saying. Because if I start this, I get ripped by my mates.”

He liked acting from the Widow Twankey moment onwards. “I loved drama at school. I became a different person.”

So you could ditch the machismo?

“Exactly. School’s so cliquey and you’re always trying to maintain some kind of front, that you’re this person. I played a lot of sports, I played rugby, but I was always a little bit smaller, always having to fight against that, and all the rugby boys – who are still very brilliant mates today – I would have always felt very like, I’m trying to be this guy … But there was a part of me that actually wanted to dress up and pretend to be other people. I got to do that in drama. None of the rugby boys were in my drama class, funnily enough.”

He insists it was never about seeking approval, or applause, or attention. “I still consider myself not someone that likes attention.” Really? “No! I think, if you’re somebody who gets off on attention, then that’s veering into arrogance, which is the trait I deplore most in human beings.”

I wonder if drama had also offered Dornan some escape from grief. His mother died of cancer when he was 16; a year later, four friends were killed in a car crash. His life must have felt like it was consumed by death for a while. He pulls back, just slightly, when I mention his mother dying. “I was doing well and really loving drama before that,” he says. Then: “It was horrific, horrific.”

How did you get through it?

“I’m not sure you’re ever through it.”

He had a couple of ropey years after the deaths, a couple of aimless drunken summers. “I remember a summer when I was 19 and I’d left university, the University of Teesside, where I did one year of a marketing degree. And I came out having failed every exam I took going, ‘Jesus. OK, right, something needs to change here.’ So I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I drank a lot that summer, mostly with my friend Lee. Either I’d stay at his, or he’d stay at mine, and his family had a bar at their house, which is just so dangerous.”

What were you drinking? “Tennent’s, which wouldn’t be my top beer, but they had a lot of it, so fine. And gin and tonics – I come from a very gin and tonic-y family. We ate a lot of burgers; there was a drive-through Burger King near Lee’s house. My dad came home one day, and he’d been on at me about doing something: ‘Will you just do something? Will you come home when you’ve achieved something?’ And I’d been like, OK … So one day, we’d played some tennis and I’d broken a string, and I’d spent the rest of the day very slowly, very deliberately de-stringing the racket with some pliers. When Dad came home, he was like, ‘So what did you do?’ I was just sitting there, with a racket with no strings.”

Do you think you might have been depressed? “Ha! Looking back on it now, I think yes.”

One of his two older sisters, Liesa, told him he should go to London and try modelling; he thought she was being ridiculous, but had absolutely no other ideas. “The summer of 2002, I’d just turned 20, and I felt I had to do something, so I had sort of applied to this show called Model Behaviour” – a reality TV show formatted as a model search – “and I got through the Belfast bit, then you get to London. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God! We’re staying in the Hilton in Paddington!’ ”

He didn’t win, but his modelling career took off. “I moved to London and I got a job at a pub in Knightsbridge called Tattersalls Tavern, which is still there, and I worked there full-time for four months and then had to go part-time because I was starting to get decent work, and then modelling was sort of really happening, but, ‘really happening’, I mean, you say that, it took up so little of my time. I was lucky – I was contracted to Dior exclusively for three years, and Calvin Klein on and off for seven years, so although it looks like you’re doing all this work, and there are constantly images coming out, you’re actually only flying off to Hawaii or New York or LA for a few days to shoot all these pictures, and then you’ve almost got the rest of the year off. For me it was kind of a ridiculous path [which could lead] to alcoholism.”

Did he like modelling?

“No. I liked meeting people. I had good friends. Not models, God forbid.”

There were high points. Standing in the middle of Manhattan “and there’s a massive billboard space that Calvin Klein owns on Houston. And the first Calvin Klein campaign I did was in 2003, with Natalia Vodianova, for Calvin Klein jeans, on a beach in Hawaii. And the massive image that they used in the major campaign, spread across this big double billboard, was Natalia pulling down my jeans and my underwear and basically biting my arse. I was crossing the road, and then it was there! It was the first time I’d seen it. And there was a woman beside me, appalled, standing with her friend discussing how horrific it was, and I was just sort of going like …”

He turns towards the imaginary women and waves.

Did you really? “No. I daren’t. She’d have slapped me.”

Dornan then made the move from modelling to acting. “I was hanging out with actors, I was dating an actress [Keira Knightley], so I got an agent, just to have one, but that’s so gross.”

Dornan got that very first part he auditioned for, in 2006’s Marie Antoinette; from then, things happened in fits and spurts. The Fall in 2013 marked a major leap forward; his casting in 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey made him movie star-grade famous.

He considers acting a preposterous thing to do for a living, mind you. “Five per cent of all actors are employed at any time. Five per cent! What lunatic would want to do that? I’m just happy to be employed, with those statistics.”

I go back to the subject of how good-looking Dornan is, because I can’t leave it alone, and because he’s sitting directly in front of me, so his handsomeness is pretty inescapable. I get the impression he might – just – intellectually understand himself to be a good-looking man, but that he has never assimilated that information. He says no one fancied him at school. “Not at all! I had so little confidence. I was small and had two older sisters: all their mates just thought I was very cute, and I hated that word so much … I wanted them to see me as a man, and they were like, ‘Is he ever going to get pubic hair?’ Well, I’ve got a beard now. I must have pubes.”

He insists he never did terribly well with women, even as he became a successful model. How is that possible?

“I’m a terrible approacher of women. When I was single, I was dreadful at it. I wouldn’t do it; I would just hope that someone would like me, and come to me. I’ve got mates who just do that, don’t think anything of it. I remember being out in my late twenties, and mates of mine would just be like, ‘Oh, look, she’s fit,’ and they’d go up and start talking to girls. I was like, ‘What are you saying to her? Why is she responding so well?’ ”

Right, but you had a two-year relationship with Keira Knightley, I point out.

“We were put together. We did a [modelling] campaign. Standing awkwardly in photographs together, you get talking.”

Was that how Dornan met his wife? He has been married for three years to actress and composer Amelia Warner. “No, we met at a party in LA. I had a big crush on my wife before I met her. I really fancied her. I’d done a lot of googling of her, to the point that I knew she was going to be in this house. I had a few people who knew I had a crush on her at the party; as soon as I arrived, I was presented to her on a platter, and that makes it easier.”

And now you’re married, so you’ll never have to approach another woman again!

“That’s such a relief, I can’t tell you! Such a relief, never having to chat up any potential woman again. My life is brilliant!”

Warner hasn’t seen Fifty Shades – “Why would she? Why would you do that to yourself?” – and his daughters don’t yet know what it is he does. “I’ve been thinking about how to explain what Daddy does for a living and how absurd and ridiculous it is.”

I’d wanted to ask Dornan about how badly he is rumoured to get along with Fifty Shades co-star Dakota Johnson. Industry chatter about the disdain the actors felt for each other abounded at the time of the first film’s release in 2015, and one journalist described a press conference featuring both actors as having “the excruciating air of a court-ordered couples therapy session”. But Dornan cuts me off at the pass, insisting, “Dakota and I know each other very well now. We’re great friends,” which, he adds, is good because they can “laugh at the absurdity of [the sex scenes]”.

Then, for reasons no one ever fully explains to me, the actor Nick Frost appears in my eyeline, and gives me the five-minutes-to-wind-up hand signal. Dornan sees him, too, and gets the giggles – clearly, they know each other. I obey and end the interview.

I say goodbye, realising that my defining impression of Jamie Dornan as an incredibly handsome man has at some point been overtaken by a defining impression of Jamie Dornan as an incredibly nice man. He hugs me and I end up accidentally kissing him on the neck all over again.

One Response to “NEWS: Interview and Photoshoot of Jamie for The Times”
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