‘You have an awareness of it because you know how much grief it’s caused.
It’s a tiny percentage who have ruined it for that country, that pisses everyone else off.’ When he was 16 the rugby-mad Dornan’s childhood was devastated by the death of his mother from pancreatic cancer. ‘But it’s a very transitional time being that age, and a very impressionable time.
Calvin Klein came knocking too, and the resultant pictures in pants earned him the nickname ‘the Golden Torso’. And then he went to LA for auditions during the pilot season, which he describes as ‘one of the most dehumanising things anyone could ever go through – on an entertainment level, that is.’ He ‘got lucky’, with a reasonably big part in the first season of the hit ABC fantasy series Once Upon a Time, playing a sheriff who turns out to be the Huntsman from Snow White.
It premiered in America in 2011 and netted ratings of 12 million a week.
‘I think people from Northern Ireland have some kind of unspoken general feeling of what it is to be around segregation,’ Dornan, who considers himself, nominally, a Protestant, says.Dornan won the part of Christian Grey, the dazzlingly handsome anti-hero with a penchant for light sadomasochism, in the Hollywood adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, the bestselling (90 million copies worldwide and counting) novel by EL James.Directed by the British artist Sam Taylor-Johnson, the film is slated to be released on Valentine’s Day next year.That first series was set during the English Civil War (and starred Michael Fassbender and Andrea Riseborough); this one, to be aired next week, takes place during the Restoration, a period nigh on as bloody and politically fissured, if Martine Brant and Peter Flannery’s script is anything to go by.Dornan is playing Abe Goffe, a young outlaw who foments revolution against the ruling elite from a forest in Oxfordshire, and whose head is turned by the beautiful Beth (Freya Mavor), the daughter of Angelica Fanshawe, the ‘whore’ of the earlier drama.
Goffe’s wild existence accounts for Dornan’s unkempt hair.