Jamie Dornan, the star of the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie, was recently nominated for an Irish Film and Television Award, that of Actor in a Lead Role, Television. He’s an Irish actor, obviously, and he plays a serial killer on TV show The Fall, a crime thriller about a serial killer. He plays the serial killer.
Once upon a time, when you talked about Jamie Dornan, you usually said something like “that guy who used to date Kiera Knightley.” Thankfully, those days have long passed. Jamie Dornan, born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, dated the actress from 2003 until about 2005. At that time, he was working as a model, appearing in photo shoot campaigns alongside the likes of Kate Moss, and Eva Mendes.
Modeling as a career seemed to be working out pretty okay for Jamie Dornan, but it seems he had his eye on acting all along. His acting debut occurred in 2006 with his appearance in the Sophia Coppola film Marie Antoinette. Then, there was that embarrassing 2008 Myspace film release—the one called Beyond the Rave, which almost nobody watched. So it is not surprising that his acting career did not exactly skyrocket after those two roles.
In fact, several more years would pass before Dornan finally got the big break he’d been waiting for. And, in what probably amounts to a reflection of where the real innovation in today’s media takes place, his break came in television, not on the big screen—at least until now.
He first appeared on TV on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, where he played Storybrooke’s character Sheriff Graham. This is a recasting of the Huntsman who spared the life of Snow White. That sounds complicated, but it’s actually much simpler than it sounds.
But Dornan, just when audiences were getting to like that Sheriff Graham character, caught a bad break when the character met his untimely end only seven episodes into the show. It was a big surprise for the show.
And, of course, now Jamie Dornan has been cast as the lead role of Christian Grey in the upcoming release of the adaptation of the novel Fifty Shades of Grey. He was offered the role after Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam (who played Jax, for fans of the show) dropped out of the production.
But Jamie is going to do a lot more than rest on his laurels in the meantime, even if he did just win a major nomination and a lead role in a big-budget movie. He’ll be appearing on Channel 4’s New Worlds. The miniseries runs four episodes, and is made by the same team that brought us The Devil’s Whore. It takes place in the 17th century, on either side of the Atlantic ocean.
Most recently, Dornan stars in The Fall, which is one of those shows that manages to pack in everything we love so much about crime dramas, without descending to the level of the blandly cliché. We’ve got the creepy serial killer, the complex, intricate psychology of the female lead, a very specifically chosen setting, and a glacial pace that shifts the emphasis from the crime fighting to the psychology of the many characters.
In the show, Gillian Anderson leads as Detective Stella Gibson. She works for the London Metropolitan Police, and she has been called to Belfast, Northern Ireland. There, she is to review a murder case of a high profile. The Belfast police have been unable to solve the crime, and so have turned to the severe, attractive Stella Gibson from the Metropolitan police for help.
The murder, as we find out soon enough, was the work of one Paul Spector, played by Dornan. Dornan plays the classic attractive, soft-spoken serial killer, after the fashion of other current TV serial killer stars, folks like James Purefoy and Mads Mikkelsen, and so on.
With a soft voice and two daughters, Spector is a grief counselor who sports a tame little beard. And while he might look the part of the paragon of ideal Williamsburg bartender flair, he actually only pretends to listen to a particular grieving mother, instead drawing lewd pictures of her on his notepad.
Dornan’s character plans out his murders with plenty of malice aforethought. He always picks professional women, and always of roughly the same age and general appearance. His preferred modus operandi is to break into his victim’s houses, play around in their underwear for a while, then come back to strangle them. He then does a bit of housework, taking care of some laundry, and bathing the corpse. Then he poses the dead body in the freshly laundered clothes and takes pictures of them for his own prurient interests later on.