Jamie Dornan Is Earning Awards Notice For Belfast, But Says His Fifty Shades Of Grey Legacy Is Complicated

Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades as Christian Grey.
(Image credit: Universal)

Jamie Dornan has kept busy with work since his time in the Fifty Shades franchise ended. While the movies made Dornan a well-known name and earned more than a billion dollars at the box office, the actor is the first to admit the complicated legacy of playing Christian Grey. In fact, he says it didn’t lead to the career security that you might think. 

The Fifty Shades and now Belfast actor spoke out about how Fifty Shades of Grey, Darker and Freed were boons to his career, but that they also put him on a path that is quite different than a lot of other popular franchises.  When asked about whether he has job security these days, he answered “no” before explaining in depth: 

No, because of the unique package that Fifty Shades presented of being a much-maligned project, and the books being what they were — how loved they were by fandom, and how harshly criticized they were by critics. That’s unique in itself.

Dornan’s comments were part of a longer profile in the New York Times and also highlighted why he feels he still needs to fight for every role he lands. For example, Jamie Dornan noted it’s the story between Ana Steele and Christian Grey that led audiences to follow him, but those audiences don’t always translate into helping him get into other things he wants to do. In fact, he lost out on playing Superman for the the DCEU and hasn't yet landed some of the more high-profile gigs he would like to, though he did say he has met with Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige about a possible role. 

He calls this an "extra fire" lit within him and he says it is tied both to becoming a father to three little girls and also to his father's death from Covid-19 complications earlier this year

I’m more ambitious than I’ve ever let on before. It’s like a necessity to deliver and provide, very caveman-esque: I must succeed for these precious little people. Also, since my dad died, it’s lit this extra fire within me, this extra burner of wanting to succeed.

Elsewhere in the interview, Jamie Dornan spoke of Robert Pattinson’s similar career trajectory early on and how he’s been able to shift past Edward Cullen to play roles as varied as his upcoming take on Batman and the lead in the arthouse flick The Lighthouse. He called that trajectory "really smart." To some degree, I get what Dornan is saying, as his career may not be as gob-smackingly shiny as R. Pats,' but whose is right now? 

To note, Dornan had a well-liked comedic turn in Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar earlier this year. The memorable ending of Wild Mountain Thyme had people talking as well. Most recently, Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast is earning accolades and plenty of acclaim for Jamie Dornan and his co-stars, including Caitriona Balfe. So, he is finding a very nice niche in the industry even if he's not where he wants to be. Yet. 

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.