Jamie Dornan on “Endings, Beginnings” and “Fifty Shades of Gray” – Variety


When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, Jamie Dornan was in New York, about to shoot a new television series.

But as the production stopped on “Dr. Dead, “the 37-year-old actor flew to his home in England, where he isolated himself from his wife and three children.

Dornan, the star of the Fifty Shades franchise, recently joined Instagram, posting a funny video with his face covered in blue paint for an upcoming role – a jump for a normally private person. This week, he is preparing for the release of his latest film, “Endings, Beginnings,” a drama directed by Drake Doremus, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival last fall.

In the film, Dorman plays an Irish writer struck by a woman (Shailene Woodley) whom he and his best friend (Sebastian Stan) meet at a party. “Endings, Beginnings” is now available in digital homes.

Since playing the role of Christian Gray in “Fifty Shades of Gray”, Dornan has zigzagged as an actor, choosing character parts from independent films such as “Anthropoid” and “A Private War”. And he’s excited about his first big comedic role in “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar”, a comedy written by and with Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo.

Dornan spoke to Variety about “Endings, Beginnings”, which was largely improvised, and why it was not transcribed after “Fifty Shades”.

How did Drake Doremus first approach you for “End, start?” “

I love Drake’s work. We were in the same agency so her name appeared several times. And then we ended up making an announcement together. I did this Hugo Boss campaign, like a perfume campaign, and Drake directed it. We went to Azerbaijan four days before Christmas a few years ago, and have just started. We were very aligned in our thinking and our approach to art, but also to golf. He’s a big fan of golf.

And we said to ourselves, “It’s great to advertise and everyone gets paid and it’s a great job, but it would be great to make a real film together. “We played golf when I was in LA and became friends. He always said he had this project he had in mind for me.

Did you always know that you were going to be the right guy?

Drake offered it. There was darkness in Frank [Sebastian Stan’s character], slightly. As you know, much of it is improvised. But even on the page, it was like Jack [his character] was probably the best guy, a little bit better morally. I played a lot of bad characters and a lot of bad guys, but for whatever reason, I was just drawn to the honesty and kindness that I saw in Jack.

Can you talk a little bit about Drake’s improvisation process? He has a plan, then the actors complete the dialogue on the day of filming. How did you prepare for this?

I really wanted to run for the hills the first night. There was a night shoot in L.A., and I was like, “I’m so scared. In fact, I was thinking of fleeing, like fleeing legitimately. I was terrified because you are so out of your comfort zone. The first scene I had was the first time Daphne [Shailene Woodley] and Jack meet. It’s a party scene. There are a lot of extras out there. There is music so you have to raise your levels, speak loudly. I felt so exposed and I said to myself “F—! I had no idea what was going to happen.

And there is a skeleton script. I feel like the first take, everything in the script came out of my mouth. You do one thing, and Drake comes over and says, “Hey, forget everything on the page. Do what you want here. And you are even more terrified than the first time. But then, that leaves room for … I don’t know, the truth. You suddenly stand there just trying to tell the truth about these two characters and these two situations.

We would sort of get into it. It’s crazy, it’s amazing, it’s unique and none of us had worked like this before. I had done a little bit of improvisation in a fun way, but it wasn’t supposed to be funny. So yes, it was crazy, but it was beautiful.

Do you draw from your personal life in improvisation?

I think at the start of the process you start to have a good idea of ​​who you are. And listen, I’m not going to be the first person to say when you get better – do you bring a lot of yourself to it? It’s a natural thing. You can’t help but let a little bit of yourself escape, especially if you do something different each time you take it. I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

After “Fifty Shades of Gray”, you had so much international success at the box office. What is your philosophy of choosing roles?

I feel like you have no idea what’s going on until you read it and you say to yourself, “Oh, that’s it. This is what I want to do next. “I think I have a better idea of ​​what is not right for me. And one thing with this job is to challenge myself and one thing is to keep a very big element of variety. I just don’t want to – and I’m not trying to discredit anyone in this world – but I just couldn’t be an actor doing action film after action film or, in fact , who plays comedy after comedy.

I mean, it might be a little more bearable, but my whole role as an actor is that we get to embody all of these different worlds, and that’s what turns me on. I’m not close to being in an action movie. I just don’t want to do four a year. If someone comes and talks to me, then – yes, of course. And I think I was lucky in everything that followed “Fifty Shades”. There is a lot on the low budget film market of $ 5-15 million. And I personally think that’s where the best scripts are. I’ve done things like “Anthropoid” or “A Private War”, and some of these movies, I’m really proud of. I’m lucky they came to meet me because of the box office success of “Fifty Shades”.

Were you worried about being cast after “Fifty Shades”?

No, because it was so unique. It cannot be cast. There aren’t a million scripts hanging around the millionaires who love BDSM. I always felt like it was this kind of unique situation. I’ve never done anything close since and I probably won’t ever do it again, because it’s sort of his own thing. It’s as if we did it; he lived in his own world and it was a very big world and a lot of people cared about it. But it’s kind of like, “That was it. “

Your next film is the comedy “Barb and Star” with Kristen Wiig.

I’m so excited that people are watching the movie. I’m so excited to see the film myself. Years ago when I started in the industry I sort of really wanted to do comedy only and I was sort of doing good comedy relationships, feeling like I was going to follow this path. And then I did “The Fall,” and if you play a serial killer, nobody considers you for comedy.

I guess it took me a while to find my way back to this world. I made enough people laugh along the way. It came from directors and producers who saw the cat stuff I did like Graham Norton, where I told vaguely funny stories on a couch during work.

I mean, for my first comedy to be [with Wiig and Annie Mumolo], it’s a little breathtaking. We just had such a laugh while making this film in Mexico last summer. But it’s a journey. I really hope people will answer it. It’s right on my street. These are some of the funniest days I have ever had in my life.

You recently returned to Instagram. Can you explain to me what the video you posted consisted of, my face covered in blue paint?

It was for a job. It was not in the present. It’s something I’ve done in the past that I haven’t even shot yet, to be honest. But it was like an excruciating and appalling experience. The people who did it were adorable, but all this stuff on your face lasts 40 minutes, where you breathe through the smallest holes in your nostril.

And I had a panic attack, and I’m not panicking at all. But I had a minute in between when I was like, “Uh, guys! Guys! … “I couldn’t even say that. You weren’t allowed to speak, so I did all of this by hand signals.

I could hear people say, “Are you okay?” And I was waving my hand over my neck. And they say to themselves, “It’s okay. It’s only 15 more minutes. I was like, “15 minutes! “This is the longest figure in my life. It was crazy for what it was. And I guess, just during this time that I isolated myself, I thought, “F—, I’m going to join Instagram. “Half the day, I’m sorry I did it, and half the day, I think it’s pretty fun.

How do you manage your self-isolation?

Look, I don’t think there is anyone in the world who is unaffected, some bigger than others. It’s a time of hope and there will be an end to it and we can all be together again. I am a pretty positive person, but I am deeply aware of the grief, that so many people are going through losing loved ones and not even being able to say goodbye to them.

I think, “Get through today. “You need a schedule. You need a plan. It’s more difficult if you’re alone, but I have three young children and my wife. We have an appropriate schedule and we stick to it because I think without it we would go crazy. If you have a schedule, some kind of focus to get through the day, it certainly helps.


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