The Observer Reprint + New Interview (in Spanish)
Jamie Dornan: “Personally, I’m not into S&M”
And Christian Grey becomes a reality. The British actor is giving a face (and a sculpted body) to the sexual fantasy created by EL James, in theaters February 13.
The new object of desire is called Jamie Dornan. Northern Irish with light eyes, he laughs with a casual and a suggestive look. He’s wearing a white shirt —rolled up sleeves and no tie— with a gray summer dress pants — still well pressed— to weather the California winter. You will not notice a hint of nervousness in this 32 year-old actor before making the leap. One thing is to know that Dornan stars in 50 shades of Grey (shooting the most anticipated winter movie with Dakota Johnson took months) but it’s quite another to see him embodying the most wanted man on the world. The film, if there’s anybody who doesn’t know it, is based on the first book of the international literary phenomenon trilogy -more than 100 million copies sold around the world- described as mommy porn.
He has reached this point well prepared. Soffia Coppola discovered his attractiveness in Marie Antoinette, he was a Calvin Klein model (posing next to Eva Mendes in the pics) and once dated Keira Knightley… He is supported by his last TV shows, Once upon a time (he played Sheriff Graham) and The Fall (a serial killer and a bereavement counsellor).
It’s curious that, as Christian Grey, Dornan has a tragic past. His mother died of pancreatic cancer when he was a 15 year-old boy and, months later, one of his best friends died in a car accident. But he has not come to the Chateau Marmont in LA to talk about the past. Grew up in a methodist family in Belfast is enjoying the calm before the storm (he is already working on two movies with John Wells and Alexander Aja). He faces his stardom with his wife, singer-songwriter and actress Amelia Warner —known as Slow Moving Millie— and their one-year-old daughter.
How does your wife feel about all this?
I have nothing to apologize for. She was also an actress and knows how it works.Acting is not real it’s just pretending. Indeed, she congratulated me for my work.
The New York Times says you’ve got a “Golden Torso”. Firstly, you have been a model in some of the sexiest campaigns and now you start in the most erotic film of the year. Are you feeling so comfortable in your own skin?
Nobody feels completely comfortable with his body. I’m not different. It’s true that being a model made my job easier in the film. There are similar elements in cinema and advertising. The big difference is that, as a model, your job is to capture the moment, but otherwise you can sneeze, laugh, scratch your ear … But, as Grey, I could not get out of the intensity of the character.
And in your opinion, is there any similarity between Christian Grey and Jamie Dornan?
No, among other things because no one is like Grey. At least, I don’t know anybody else. It’s a fantasy, a superhero of a fairy tale, an unreachable man. That’s part of its appeal… he’s the only one.
You seem friendly and accesible but this movie will make you the most wanted man of the world. How do you prepare to do something like that?
It’s imposible. You just have to let it go. I think it’s great that people find me sexy; if they like what’s underneath this shirt, welcome. There’s nothing I can do.
At least, do you get fit or is this your normal shape?
Anyone can say that 4 weeks are not enough to get you fit. That’s the time I had before starting shooting. Fortunately, I’m lucky with my genes and I have a very high metabolism and I can’t gain weight. As a working father, I don’t have time to go to the gym, instead of setting the alarm at 5am, it sounds at 6:30am. I like to play sports and to compete: rugby, football… At Christmas, I turned a ping pong match into a competitive tournament.
There were other contenders for the role but finally you were chosen as the new Christian Grey. Are you nervous about what fifty shades fans will think of you?
I know I’m not the Christian Grey everybody would like. That’s the way books are. When we read, we imagine the characters. I’m not what people expect, as they would have not been Charlie Hunnam, Matt Bomer, Alexander Skarsgard … or any of the other contenders. Fortunately, I turned out to be a favourite for the producers, Sam Taylor-Johnson and the film’s crew. And here I am.
Why do you think this is a success woman book?
It’s a power and control thing. Christian Grey is described as the epitome of male beauty.
Do you understand and support BDSM lifestyle?
For us, Fifty Shades of Grey is a love story. It is nothing new. SM exists, there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not a crime. Personally, It’s not my thing but I can understand people who practice it. Maybe this film will open your eyes to it.
I guess you would need training in this area…
Of course, we have a BDSM expert, Liam. He was in the process of filming the movie. One night, he invited me to the room where he has fun and I saw him with one of his submissives. It was an interesting experience.
I understand that during the filming “dressing your bag of shame” was worse than being naked. In Spain, It’s also known as “el Calcetín”. (the sock)
It’s imposible to get out of your head that you’re filming an erotic movie when you’ve got all your “private parts” in a flesh colored bag. It’s worse than being totally naked. It’s a strange way to start a day. It makes clear to you what to expect the rest of the day.
It is hard to imagine shooting this erotic film without laughing from time to time.
There were more than one fit of laugher, specially with the objects we use in the sessions of sadomasochism and we did not know before they came into our hands. Or simply when shooting bed scenes… The closed set is a fallacy. While shooting those intimate scenes, someone is with a camera in your face or holding the microphone and the set is full of girls continually looking at you.
If predictions are right, the 100 million fifty shades of grey readers will see you. We have a blockbuster. It’s a good time to dress up. Are you as smart as Mr. Grey?
Me? My wardrobe is a disaster. You open it and everything fall down. I can try to look good on the red carpet, working in the fashion industry has taught me something, I like wearing suits and they gave me some clothes. Fashion is not my thing. I feel really comfortable with a pair of Levis and a t-shirt. However, at the Golden Globes I wore a Louis Vuitton suit and I realized that maybe I should dress like that more often.
Are you shaving off your beard?
You’re what you are. I’m a man attached to his beard. I don’t like my face without a beard. We all have a weakness; mine is the face. I don’t like it. and above all, I hate shaving.
Thanks to @Shades_Blog for the scans.