Jamie Dornan is currently having a ‘moment’ as they like to say in showbiz; not only is he starring in Kenneth Branagh’s film Belfast but he is hypnotising viewers as the amnesiac at the heart of the action in BBC One series The Tourist.
Despite this success and his growing A-list status, however, Jamie Dornan reflects on 2021 as a very mixed year, one in which he lost his beloved father.
“It’s a strange thing to end the year with all this positivity,” he told The Daily Telegraph, “with so much praise for Belfast and a lot of good talk about The Tourist – because on many levels it’s been the worst year of my life, and the hardest.”
When he heard news of his medical professor father’s death, Jamie was in hotel quarantine in Australia, having just arrived to begin filming The Tourist, and was unable to travel to be with his family. In fact, the family is yet to have a funeral for him. He also lost his mother at 16 – he’s no stranger to the impact of grief.
He said: “You wear it, and it shapes you, and colours you forever, to lose your mother at such a young age, and life will never be the same again – but you can’t lead with it. I am probably a much stronger person as a result. I was young and naive and I had to grow up really fast. I had to find a strength and resilience that I didn’t know I had.”
A former Calvin Klein model, Jamie not only has the looks but the talent to ascend to the top of the acting tree, bursting onto the scene as a serial killer in BBC Two’s The Fall in 2012, then starring in box office hit (and critical dud) Fifty Shades of Grey in 2015.
But far from simply being a square-jawed hunk, who looks good but struggles to emote, Jamie’s career has blossomed to the extent that Kenneth Branagh chose him to pay his dad in the semi-autobiographical film Belfast, about the beginning of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the late 60s.
It’s a role that is close to his heart. “It’s a different take on that part of the world than we’ve seen before ... As someone who’s from Northern Ireland, I think it’s really important to constantly offer up a different perception of what it’s like – it’s not all men in masks doing bad things.”
◆ The Tourist is currently screening on BBC One and iPlayer. Belfast is on general release in cinemas from Jan 21.
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