Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a little film hitting cinemas today. You may even have read the book. Something about a colour?

We’re kidding, of course. Fifty Shades Of Grey has to be the most hotly anticipated page-to-screen adaptation ever! Since E.L. James steamy tale of the naive junior journalist Anastasia entering into a BDSM relationship/contract with billionaire Christian Grey was first published, as a kind of fan fiction to the Twilight series, it’s been a must-read for fantasy loving females, and for quite a few men too.  With the film’s release, B&Q staff have been put on stand-by and told to read the book so that they can give the right advice for the expected influx of customers asking for rope, duct tape and the like. Here’s a little reminder of the trailer:

And at the centre of all this excitement is the eponymous Mr Grey.  Charlie Hunnam was originally cast in the role but walked, pathing the way for one Jamie Dornan to slip on the leather gloves. His name is on everyone’s tongues, but who is the man who would be fetish king?

The 32-year-old was offered the role after winning rave reviews for his portrayal of serial killer Paul Spector in the the Northern Irish psychological drama ‘The Fall’, alongside Gillian Anderson. Born and raised in the suburbs of Belfast himself, the series won him both the Rising Star AND Lead Actor (Television) cetegories at the 2014 Irish Film & TV Awards, as well as a BAFTA nomination.

His career tentatively began with him getting involved with the drama department at Methodist College, Belfast, where he was a boarder. He then headed off to Teeside University but dropped out to be move to London to take up acting. For a while he also modelled – for Calvin Klein, Dior & Armani, alongside Kate Moss – as well as playing in the folk band Sons of Jim, with his longtime friends. The group disbanded in 2008 but not before they’d supported singer K T Tunstall on her tour.

Jamie Dornan in ONCE UPON A TIME ABC TV series

His first big acting break came in 2006 when he played a suitor to the queen in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.  In 2008 he took the lead role of Ed in the Hammer Horror production of Beyond The Rave, and in 2009 starred with Hollywood legend Jean Simmons in the drama Shadows In The Sun. However, in 2011 he won the lucrative role in an American TV series, ABC’s ‘Once Upon A Time”, a retelling of fairy-stories, with Dornan playing Sheriff Graham, a kind of modern day huntsman from the Snow White story.

Co-stars and workers talk of his professional attitude, and how he is always reading books and researching his roles, even to the extent that he visited a torture chamber for Fifty Shades, an experience he describes as ‘eye-opening’. He’s also quite the gentleman, being protective of co-star Dakota Johnson. He told The Independent:

When they called cut, as the closest person to her I felt the need to throw a dressing gown over her, untie her, make sure everyone kept their distance for a while until she was comfortable,” he said. “I’d be a pretty awful human being if I didn’t do that.

Dornan’s father, Professor Jim Dornan, is a highly-respected obstetrician who once harbored acting ambitions himself. Dornan Sr describes his son as a constant source of pride, and praises how he coped with the loss of his mother to cancer when he was 16. With two older sisters, Dornan is very happily married to singer and actress Amelia Warner, who performs under the name Slow Moving Millie. You will know her voice from the John Lewis Christmas ad, in which she sings The Smiths’ ‘Please, please, please let me get what I want’.

The couple have a daughter, Dulcie, born in November 2013, and no, Mrs Dornan has said said she won’t be watching her husband’s latest on screen performance!

Did you know: Jamie Dornan is a 1st cousin, twice removed, of acclaimed Hollywood actress Greer Garson (Mrs Miniver, Goodby Mr Chips, Pride & Prejudice).

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