It seems like Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan has appeared out of nowhere in recent years. Indeed, 2015 marked his big breakthrough when he landed the male lead in erotic melodrama Fifty Shades of Grey. But the actor’s rise to stardom has been anything but straightforward. Dornan has faced hardships in his personal life, dealt with the tragic loss of loved ones and yet still persevered. Nevertheless, when the star is interviewed, you wouldn’t think there were any dark moments in his past at all. He comes across as one of the most laid-back and carefree players on the scene. And, if you need evidence of this, look no further than one of Dornan’s latest Q&A sessions. In a televised interview, the actor makes a hilarious confession regarding his time on the set of the third Fifty Shades film. Needless to say, it’s a “wee” bit risqué…
Things may look rosy now for Hollywood heartthrob Dornan, but this has by no means always been the case. In fact, the 35-year-old performer went through great trials and tribulations when he was a younger man. But he managed to fight his way through the bleak times thanks in part to his insatiable passion for performing.
Born in the prophetically named County Down town of Holywood, Northern Ireland in 1982, Dornan was raised with his two older sisters, Liesa and Jessica. His father, Professor Jim Dornan, is a prominent gynecologist and obstetrician and mother was a nurse. Liesa went on to work for the Disney Corporation and Jessica became a fashion designer.
However, in 1998 a massive tragedy struck the family. While the 16-year-old Dornan was gearing up for important school exams at Methodist College Belfast, his mother sadly passed away from pancreatic cancer. This traumatizing time for Dornan was followed up by another terrible blow the next year when four of his friends died in a traffic accident.
In a 2013 interview with the website Irish Central in 2013, the subsequently remarried Dornan Sr. spoke adoringly about his son. “You know, everything about Jamie has made me proud,” he divulged. “The way he responded to his mother’s death; the way he responded when four of his friends were killed in a car crash; the way he responded to the challenge of getting into the world he is in; the way he responded to my new partner and wife.”
And judging by Dornan’s achievements since those dark teenage days, his dad was right on the money. The film star first achieved modest success in music with his folk group, Sons of Jim, in the early years of the century. He than made waves in the modeling industry with prestige appearances in big-time ad campaigns for the likes of Calvin Klein and Dior Homme.
Nonetheless, acting was his number-one passion and where he really made a name for himself. Dornan made his first breakthrough when he was cast in the 2006 Sofia Coppola-directed period piece Marie Antoinette. Three years later, he starred in the film drama Shadows in the Sun alongside the legendary Hollywood actress Jean Simmons.
But Dornan still found the time to romance and marry fellow musician and actor Amelia Warner in 2013. And this was the same year his stunning performance in TV crime drama The Fall really made people sit up and take notice. The gritty series, set in Dornan’s native Northern Ireland, also starred Gillian Anderson. Dornan won the Breakthrough Award at the U.K. Broadcasting Press Guild Awards for his portrayal of a crazed serial killer.
In fact, it was due to this rising stardom that Dornan attracted the attention of film producers looking to cast a major new project. He was selected for the male lead in Fifty Shades of Grey – the movie version of the best-selling erotic romance novel by E.L. James. The 2015 adaptation, also starring Dakota Johnson, provided Dornan with his biggest part to date as sexy billionaire Christian Grey. The star’s performance helped the film gross a whopping $571 million at the box office.
This spanking success was inevitably followed up two years later by a sequel – Fifty Shades Darker. Even though, like its predecessor, the film was critically slated, it did very well commercially. Not only that, but Dornan was nominated for another accolade for his reprise of the Christian Grey role. But, unfortunately for the leading man, it was a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor.But that didn’t stop Dornan and Johnson reuniting for a third installment of the franchise. Entitled Fifty Shades Freed, the steamy romp shared much in common with the first two parts of the trilogy. Once again, the roll out of the film to cinema theaters in February 2018 was greeted by awful reviews but an awesome take at the box office.
Indeed, movie critics fell over themselves to savage the film’s writing, production and acting, but there was one person who wasn’t taking it too seriously. Even if you don’t like the Fifty Shades trilogy, you can still appreciate the hilarity that ensues when Dornan is interviewed on the subject. And the actor arguably gave the funniest one yet when he appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show on January 31, 2018. In fact, Dornan discovered that his Northern Irish slang didn’t cross over to an American audience in the way he might have hoped…
Kimmel opens the segment on his late night show, talking to his guest about the third Fifty Shades installment. The host asks Dornan how “modest” he was while shooting the love scenes for the film. Dornan tells Kimmel about the closed set and how the star urged the producers to “try to keep it only whoever really needs to be in there – like me.”
However, things took a turn for the weird when Dornan describes what he was wearing for the racy action sequences. The actor reveals that he used a “wee bag” to cover his nether regions while shooting the nude scenes. The show’s live audience is heard whooping as an extremely befuddled Kimmel double checks, asking, “What is it called?”
In an attempt to quickly rectify his obscure choice of words, Dornan tries to explain. “Well, that’s an expression from where I’m from,” he says. “A wee bag. But it doesn’t mean it’s actually wee in size.” After the sizably embarrassing loss in translation, Dornan hilariously remarks, “I wear quite a big bag! I wear this huge travel bag and stuff everything in there.”
The humorous exchange not only has the show’s anchor in stitches, but the whole studio audience as well. But Dornan was in no mood stop his explanation there. No, in fact, the actor goes into great detail about his “wee bag,” and talks about his ambitions for the intimate apparel. He adds, “I’d love to get to the stage where you have your own one that you get to carry around.”
Dornan continues, “I think I was right to think this way. On the first movie, there was a selection of them, and I picked one. I thought you’d take them out of the packets and they’d be brand new; they’d have that brand-new smell. Then I sort of picked one that I liked the look of and the shape of, and in the seam it said, ‘Inmate No. 3!’”
Incredibly, and much to the audience’s delight, the leading man was not finished with his laugh-out-loud anecdote. Dornan then jokes, “It was sewn into it. I was like, ‘S***. This has been used before?’ When you picture the guy playing Inmate No. 3 in a movie in your head – I don’t know – it’s not sexy! Inmate No. 1, maybe…”
But this was not the first time that Dornan had dropped a bombshell during the promotional campaign for the current film. Earlier that day, he let slip to Ellen DeGeneres that his wife, Amelia Warner, has never actually seen any of the Fifty Shades movies. Considering their intimate content, it was an eyebrow-raising revelation to say the least.
Dornan told the eponymous host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show about his partner’s attitude to Christian Grey. He said, “I guess I like to think [my wife is] more in love with me than that guy. She hasn’t seen the pictures or anything.” Since Dornan and Warner got married in 2013, they have welcomed two baby daughters into the world, Dulcie and Elva. And we’re guessing that they haven’t seen any of the Fifty Shades trilogy yet either.
So what does the future have in store for family man Dornan? Well – nude scenes apart – it seems we are going to see a lot more of him on the big screen. The Northern Irish charmer has three film projects slated for release in 2018, with his appearance as Will Scarlet in Robin Hood probably the most anticipated of the lot. Who knows, maybe the film will focus on stealing “wee bags” from the rich to give to the poor?