'Scrutiny' | 

Jamie Dornan confesses he was ‘reluctant’ about starring in Fifty Shades of Grey

"I am still paying penance for that choice to get me back to where I was beforehand"
Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey (Universal Studios/PA)

Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey (Universal Studios/PA)

Clodagh Meaney

Jamie Dornan has confessed that he was reluctant about starring in Fifty Shades of Grey.

The 39-year-old actor starred as Christian Grey in the movie trilogy based on books of the same name.

“I was very reluctant, I still remain reluctant. I didn’t say no. I auditioned for it and then went down the path of that and then someone else got it,” he told British GQ.

“I was like, ‘F**k, that’s great, what a nightmare for that guy. He’s going to have all this scrutiny. Before anyone’s heard him do anything, he’s gonna be really hated.’ And so many people rage against the casting of it alone,” he said.

“Anyway, he dropped it and then I filled in and felt that wrath of hatred,” Dornan explained.

Charlie Hunnam was initially cast in the role of Grey alongside Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele). Hunnam initially turned down the role but after a conversation with Universal Pictures he decided to accept the job.

In September 2013 the leading roles were announced. However one month later in October 2013, Hunnam, who stars in Sons of Anarchy pulled out of the franchise stating scheduling conflicts. Ryan Gosling was wanted by the production studio for the role, however he didn’t express any interest in the part.

Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke was offered the role of Anastasia Steele, however she pulled out once she realised that the role would involve nudity.

Jamie Dornan said that he knows the film will follow him forever.

Fifty Shades Of Grey author EL James (PA)

Fifty Shades Of Grey author EL James (PA)

“The press is always, ‘It’s the best thing he’s done since Fifty Shades.’ As if I am still needing to prove myself; I am still paying penance for that choice to get me back to where I was beforehand.”

“Look, I get it, and, to be honest with you, it spurs me on. It lights a fire in me. If that means people saying, ‘Oh, actually he’s not that bad,’ well, so be it,” he said.

“There’s nothing like ‘Fifty Shades’ in terms of, it was based on books and we were staying very close to these books. These books were loved by fandom. Really loved, obsessively loved, and despised by every critic unless you’re like some online bloggy critic. Real critics hated the books.”

The Fifty Shades books were written by E.L James, with the first novel being released in 2011. The story was developed based on fan-fiction written about the popular vampire series Twilight.

“You know that you’re going to have these movies that are for the fans, that the fans are going to love, that are gonna make a ton of money,” Dornan said.

“But you know that the critics will be just, you know, licking their lips and that’s exactly what happened. And we knew that was going to happen so you’re watching that play out and at times that’s f**king difficult.”

Jamie most recently starred in Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical movie ‘Belfast’. Set in the 1960s, the black and white flick follows the story of Buddy’s (played by Jude Hill) childhood in Belfast during the Troubles.

Belfast lands in Irish cinemas on January 21st 2022.

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