Jamie Dornan revealed during an interview on BBC Radio 4’s “Desert Island Discs” program that he went into hiding after he was ridiculed by film critics for “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the 2015 erotic romance film based on E.L. James’ novel that made him a global star. The movie was eviscerated by the press, a change of pace for Dornan after earning acclaim in the United Kingdom for his performance as a serial killer in the series “The Fall.” Dornan and his family hid out at the home of his “Fifty Shades” director Sam Taylor-Johnson to regroup after the backlash.
“I think I hid,” Dornan said when asked about how he processed the negative “Fifty Shades” reviews. “I was coming off the back of career-altering reviews for ‘The Fall’ and BAFTA nominations and all the madness ‘The Fall’ brought… to ridicule. We went down to Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s place. They weren’t there. They let us have their place in the country and we sort of hid there for awhile and shut ourselves off from the world a little bit.”
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Despite the negative reviews, “Fifty Shades” was a box office powerhouse with $569 million worldwide. The movie launched a film trilogy, which Dornan was contractually obligated to return to despite the vitriol from film critics.
“It made so much money so like… films two and three were greenlit over night,” Dornan said. “It was a strange thing because there’s a bit of ridicule here and I’m now contracted to do two more, knowing that there will be much more damnation to come.”
Dornan said on an episode of the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast last year that he knew “Fifty Shades” was going to be panned by critics. He originally auditioned for the role of Christian Grey but lost out to Charlie Hunnam, who ultimately dropped out of the movie and left the door open for Dornan to come back.
“When I didn’t get it, I felt a bit of relief because I knew that guy is going to get wrecked here,” Dornan said. “He maybe felt the same… suddenly there I was, but with way less time to make a decision. I got cast five weeks before we started filming. I knew that it came with all that baggage… that the reality was it would make a ton of money and the fans would love and the critics would despise it. That’s what happened with the books and that’s what we were making. We were staying truthful to the books and we knew what that would be.”
Asked during his “Desert Island Discs” interview if he regrets signing on to star in the “Fifty Shades” trilogy, Dornan responded: “I had very glowing reviews for recent work. And there won’t be any that don’t mention ‘Fifty Shades’ in them … A lot of reviews are like: ‘He’s great, but lest we forget when he wasn’t great here.’ Regret that I did them? No!”
Dornan most recently graced the screen in “A Haunting in Venice,” which was released in theaters last fall. Listen to his full “Desert Island Discs” interview here.
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