You can read Jamie's interview with Evening Standard below
So, tthere's good news and bad news about Jamie Dornan, the young man from Belfast dubbed 'the male Kate Moss' by GQ and 'the Goldon Torso' by The New York Times. The good news: he's smart, sweet and thoughtful. Tidies up before his cleaner comes round. Carries stamps in his wallet because he likes old-fashioned letter-writing, particularly to his dad. Charming. Modest to a fault. Single. Broody. Touched by melancholia. The bad news? He wouldn't take his top off for our photo shoot. Sorry. I did try. But at least he showed me the Dornan Furrow.
"I'm not going to take my shirt off every time I'm in front of a camera," he explains patiently in his strong Northern Irish accent. "It's very accessible. Google 'Jamie Dornan torso' and there you are. I've done it enough that I really don't see how it's interesting anymore. People assume you're stupid enough as it is. Then you take your shirt off and they're like, 'He must be an idiot.' Seriously, people approach me and you can see it in their eyes." They speak to you very s-l-o-w-l-y? "They're like: 'Let's talk about grease and oil on your body. And aftershave. And your grooming technique.' I understand: I mean, if I saw a picture of me, I'd probably be the same." Said with the weariness of someone who, at 27, has been there, done that, had Gisele lying in his lap. He's been spooned by Kate Moss on a billboard, shielded Eva Mendes' modesty in a pants advert. Where else is there for a male model to go?
He's more interested in acting, having made a ravishing debut as Kirsten Dunst's lover, Count Axel Fersen, in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. Much more stretching than simply working the Dornan Furrow. That's his trademark modelling technique. "It's so funny. Until I do it, the photographers just aren't happy. They're like, 'It's not working, it's not working.' Then I look down, and then I look up, and it creates this furrow in my brow' – he demonstrates, devastatingly – Then they're happy." He takes a big bite of his club sandwich.
"I've never bought that 'my body is a temple' shit. Although mine does help pay my mortgage." He owns (courtesy of a Dior Homme campaign) a house in Notting Hill where he lives with a flatmate. They went to a Pilates class last night, where they were the only boys. He used to play rugby; now he works out only once a week. He's not precious about his looks. On nights out, the Golden Torso opens beer bottles with his teeth. In a bar in Clapham a few years ago someone broke his perfect nose with a headbutt. "And it was National Courtesy Day!" he says, outraged.
"When I go out with my mates, we're a big group of Belfast boys and at the end of a night we can get a little, you know, hyper-active. But I tend to get my sensible head on and can be quite strict with them, like, 'Calm down, lads.' Which is why they call me Daddy Dornan."
Daddy Dornan is going to be a role model for underwear hopefuls this month when he's judging the Calvin Klein Underwear male model competition. "I'll probably help them find someone that puts me out of a contract," he says. Runners-up get a year's supply of Calvin Klein underwear. It seems a job wasted on a straight guy, though doubtless Dornan will do it gracefully.
He is often told how well he passes for straight. "The amount of people who think I'm gay is astounding." From 2003 to 2005 he stepped out with Keira Knightley, an affair both of them refuse to talk about to the press. When they split, he was quoted as saying, "The man is meant to be the alpha in the relationship on the money and power front and clearly I was not," but when I put that to him he cringes. "That was taken totally out of context. I didn't mean that." Since Keira he has, as the tabloids put it, 'been linked with a string of beautiful women'. "Which is hilarious, since I've never even met half of them. My friends ring up asking why I didn't tell them I was going out with Kate Moss? And I'm like, 'I'm not! I worked with her for half a day, that's it.' Honestly, I don't do love affairs. That's the most embarrassing thing about the whole situation. I never pull." What about older would-be seducers? His most recent movie, the languorous Shadows in the Sun, a British independent film directed by David Rocksavage, the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, hinted at a time-defying romance between him and Jean Simmons, 80, the screen legend who appeared alongside Deborah Kerr in Powell and Pressburger's Black Narcissus in 1947. "I did fall a bit in love with her, actually," he says.
In real life, he recalls one recent emergency situation with an older woman at a dinner in London. "There was lots of me going, 'Oh, really?' and turning away, and mouthing at my friends for help, and lots of her pulling at my shoulder and asking, 'Would you like some of my drink?' No way, I don't know what you've put in it!"
Instead, he goes to bed with a book. He's currently ploughing through modern American classics such as John Fante's Ask the Dust, and has just finished Ayn Rand's capitalist masterpiece The Fountainhead, "which was incredible, although Ayn Rand wouldn't be my favourite person to be around, politically". An all-time favourite is The Picture of Dorian Gray. He was desperate to play the role in Oliver Parker's forthcoming adaptation, but lost out to Ben Barnes (Chronicles of Narnia's Prince Caspian).
"I don't understand people who don't read," he says. "It's like, what else are they doing?" He also says he doesn't understand people who get fat. Why don't they eat less? There's a strict Protestant heredity at work here.
On both sides of his family, his grand-parents were Methodist lay-preachers. His father considered being an actor – won a place at RADA, even – but become an obstetrician. "I struggle with the whole religious idea myself, but my mother found faith again when she was dying and I totally respect that."
She died of pancreatic cancer when he was 16. The following year, four of his friends were killed in a car crash. "I had a terrible time when I was 16, 17," he says. "Therapy got me through that, actually; I'm not sure how I would have coped without it. It's awful to say this but it's almost better that I went through that early on because it's prepared me for situations that might arise later in life." Then he thinks again. "Actually I don't know that it did, it's just some shit that happened."
There's a thread of sadness that recurs in conversation with Jamie Dornan. "I don't keep a diary any more because I used to scare myself when I re-read it. You just learn stuff about yourself that maybe you don't need to know." He tells me how he discovered he was distantly related to Greer Garson, the actress who won an Oscar in 1942 for Mrs Miniver (he is her great-nephew), and wrote to her as a stage-struck teen, but two days after writing the letter he heard her death announced on the radio. He recently re-read all the classics from his youth: Swallows and Amazons, Tom Sawyer and Peter Pan, "because they must have shaped me in an important way, but I wasn't sure how."
He's "very protective" of his two sisters, even though they're older than him. One is expecting her first child and "that's the most exciting thing in my life at the moment, to be honest. I'm going to be the best uncle in the world, that's the plan anyway. I can't wait. I get broody even when I see stranger's babies."
If you say so, Daddy Dornan. We may be a step away from an Athena poster here. If only he would take his top off one last time.