It was a character that made him a household name – but Jamie Dornan very nearly turned down the role of Christian Grey.
The 37-year-old played the eccentric billionaire in the popular Fifty Shades of Grey franchise and, despite derision from critics, the three films racked up a collective box office total of $1.25 billion.
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But Dornan initially shied away from playing the BDSM super-fan as he was worried about the negative critical reception the films would receive (the series of books by EL James had already been panned).
He also expressed his concern at playing someone so hugely different to his own personality, adding there were elements to Grey which he found “gross.”
Speaking on Jay Rayner’s Out To Lunch podcast, he explained, “It’s very odd, to be honest.
“You are presented with this incredible opportunity that is going to have a big impact on your life and change many things – to be honest mostly financially, but also career, it’ll open so many doors – but you know it’s going to get panned.
“You’re trying to do the best you can and make the best of it, but we knew that because the books were adored by many, bought by many, but panned by many… [it was] probably going to be the same thing for the movies.
“I don’t think I’ll ever play a character who’s less like me.”
However, Dornan otherwise seems happy to have taken on the role – and was unruffled by the film’s numerous raunchy sex scenes.
“They’re a great joy to be a part of, and a crazy journey to go on, but also above everything else, they are just a job,” he said. “It’s just a film set, it’s no different to any other film set, it’s just simulating more sex.”
Although James has since written further Fifty Shades books, now narrated from Grey’s perspective, Dornan has dismissed any idea he will ever return to the franchise.
Speaking on ITV’s Lorraine last year, he said, “There’s no other books. EL James wrote the first two books again from Christian’s perspective, but I guess we’ve done those films.
“[They’re] the same stories, so they won’t be doing that again.
“Dakota Johnson and I are – particularly me, I’m getting too old for this.”