The majority of people reading this story probably know Jamie Dornan as the handsome leading man from the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, where he played dominant sex addict Christian Grey. It’s easy to get typecast when you become a global sensation in a series such as that, and Dornan has been doing his part to take roles that are very different than Mr. Grey, leading to parts in the sci-fi thriller Synchronic, A Private War opposite Rosamund Pike, and the new comedy Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar.
In that new film from Kristen Wiig and Anniue Mumolo, Jamie Dornan plays … well, the henchman for an evil power broker named Sharon Gordon Fisherman (played by a surprise guest) who has a vengeance play against the seaside Florida town of Vista Del Mar. And it’s really, really silly. But Dornan fits right in with the bizarre humor -- something that didn’t surprise his wife one bit.
I've long had this belief that really good comedic actors, really talented ones, almost always are great at drama, you know? You've seen it with guys like Steve Carell or Jim Carrey, because to be really funny, generally speaking, you're playing the drama of the scene, but you just know how to make it a little bit funnier. And I think that's a tough thing to do. As soon as Jamie stepped on set, I know Kristin, Annie and I were all like, ‘Oh, he's got it. He gets it.’ … His wife at one point came up to me while we were on set, or having dinner at some point, and she said, ‘This is Jamie. What you guys are doing, all his friends know this part of Jamie.’ It just so happens that the first big role he got, he was a serial killer, and then it went from there! So I'm excited for the world to discover this side of him, because he is such a talent.
We have seen other examples of non-comedians plugging into roles in wacky comedies and fitting right in. It tends to suggest that they have strong senses of humor in their own lives, but translating that to the screen isn’t always easy. Jamie Dornan is ridiculously funny in Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar. His song, “Edgar’s Prayer,” is the moment during my screening when I lost my breath from laughing so hard.
Can this lead to a slew of new comedic roles for Jamie Dornan? It’s possible, though I wonder if he needs to be in the right hands to make it work. He easily holds his own opposite Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo in Barb and Star. With the right collaborators, this definitely could be the start of a successful new avenue for him.