Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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When “Fifty Shades of Grey” was released as a book series, there were naturally going to be talks about a film adaptation. When that was finally announced, there was a lot of talk on who should play the lead male character. Ultimately, the role went to Jamie Dornan, who was a little bit of an unknown at the time, but is certainly known by people the world over these days. Because of the role, Dornan figures to be working quite regularly in the coming years.
Dornan hails from Northern Ireland, having been born on May 1, 1982 in Holywood, though he’d grow up near the country’s capital. Dornan’s parents weren’t professional actors themselves, though his father had flirted with the idea before going into being a doctor. After finishing high school, Dornan headed to college where he began taking acting classes. While in school, Dornan excelled quickly in acting and left to chase his dreams.
At first, it appeared that Dornan’s success would come from another avenue. Dornan started modeling during his college years, appearing in advertisements for some of the biggest fashion companies in the world. Like many models, it was only a matter of time before casting directors ultimately came calling, kicking off his acting career.
Talking about his modeling career, Dornan says “Because I used to play a lot of sport, I’ve always been in decent enough shape. When I used to get asked to do a bit of body work before a photo shoot I’d lie and say, ‘Yeah, I’m going to the gym.’ I literally never did anything.”
Dornan made his on-screen debut in 2006 by playing Axel von Fersen in the film “Marie Antoinette”. Two years later, Dornan was in “Beyond the Rave” and then wrapped up the decade with short films, as well as “Shadows in the Sun”. Dornan then had a big breakthrough in 2011 when he joined the cast of the NBC fantasy series “Once Upon a Time”, playing The Huntsman. “Love from the fans is flattering,” he said. “That’s what makes the show. They are so essential to everything involved with ‘Once Upon a Time’.”
Dornan portrayed the character for nearly 10 episodes over the course of a few years, wrapping up his character in 2013. Shortly thereafter, Dornan took on a recurring role in the British series “The Fall”, playing Paul Spector for three years. Since then, Dornan’s television appearances include a TV movie with “My Dinner with Herve” and the miniseries “Death and Nightingales”.
In more recent years, a lot of Dornan’s acting career has been focused on movies. After starring in the 2014 movie “Flying Home”, Dornan was selected to play Christian Grey in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series of movies, with the films being released in 2015, 2017 and 2018. “My life has changed immeasurably since ‘Fifty Shades’. But not as a direct result,” Dornan said.
“Four days before we started filming the first one, (my wife) Millie (Warner) and I had our first child. Two weeks before filming the second and third films back to back, we had our second child. This crazy career transition - I guess I could only see it as something that took time away from my kids. It’s a job. A job that I love and that I find very rewarding, but it is just a job.”
During this time, Dornan was also in films like “Anthropoid”, “The Siege of Jadotville” and “Untogether”. Dornan has had a busy schedule in the past few years, adding the movies “Robin Hood” and “A Private War”. Coming up, Dornan has several more movies that include “Synchronic”, “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” and “Trolls World Tour”. On top of it all, Dornan has also recorded music, releasing a handful of songs during his acting career, most recently with the 2018 song “Maybe I’m Amazed” that came from his role as Christian Grey.
Things are going quite well for Dornan’s life and career, and he couldn’t be happier. “One of my favorite things about my life is that I have the same group of friends that I grew up with,” he said. “I love them so dearly, and we give each other a hard time.” Still, Dornan knows about the struggle. “I’d been auditioning for parts for years,” he said. “I never got any better at it. I’m crap at auditions. I know there are people who can walk into those rooms and make those lines sing on the page and get the job immediately. I wasn’t one of them. I’m still not one of them.”
When it comes to the types of characters that he likes to play, Dornan has certain roles in mind. “I like playing characters who are fractured, broken,” Dornan said. “I find that more relatable, for some reason. I don’t feel that I’m like that myself by nature, but there’s just something that you can really grab hold of it people have a darkness in them, I think.”
“I want to keep an element of myself in every character I play,” he added. “And maybe that’s connected to finding something that you like in every character. Maybe they coincide…I think my lesson is to back yourself once you’ve been given a job. Far too often, I’ve been given a job and then doubted why I’m there.” He continued by saying “You want roles that challenge you and that scare you a little and where you can really discover something, even about yourself, that maybe you didn’t understand.”