Q&AThe Many Shades Of Jamie Dornan
Actor Jamie Dornan's career is on a roll, with two movies''A Private War' and 'My Dinner With Herv'''about to be released, after the conclusion of his successful 'Fifty Shades' trilogy. In each of these new films he plays a journalist, an Iraq war photo journalist in one and in the other, covering the tragic life of French midget actor and painter, Herv' Villechaize, who didn't deal with fame all that well. Here we chat with Dornan about his tryst with fame and his association with watches, including his Omega Seamaster timepieces
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Fame affects people differently. How would you say it has effected you?
It is fair to say that Hervé did not deal with fame particularly well. He made a lot of bad choices. I don’t think anyone tells you what it’s going to be like. I think that it’s an issue in the industry, dealing with overnight success. The series Fantasy Island brought him instant fame and wealth, and he did not know how to deal with it. With me, I’ve been lucky in that a more widespread recognition of my work happened when I turned 30. I did my first series when I was 29 and that was the turning point in my career and I was very thankful that it happened then, because if I was 20, I might not have dealt with it in the right kind of way. I don’t care what anyone says, you’re an idiot when you are 20. I look back now to when I was 20 and I had a lot of fun and stuff, but I was probably levelheaded. I don’t think that enough is done with the actors who are in their teens and have their own TV shows and I don’t think that some agents do enough to protect these kids. But I was lucky when all that stuff was happening to me, I was 30, I met my wife and started a family and all these normal things were happening to me that coincided with all the mad things that are happening with my career. I guess that I was just lucky.
Talking about fame, what is the weirdest fan request that you have had?
I’ve had some tricky ones. I had one after I played golf. It was weird. I don’t know if you have ever seen Happy Gilmore, where a woman asked for her breasts to be signed. I had that happen to me, but I didn’t do it. I was so aware, actually aware of how the photograph looks, especially if you got a particular angle. So I was like, I respect you want to do that, but I’m going to have to respectfully decline. I signed the book instead.
You seem like a very polite and considerate person. Has it ever come back to bite you on your rear?
Being a polite person can sometimes get you into a lot of trouble. If you are in the public eye in any sort of respect, a lot more is asked of you than if you weren’t. And I think I’d find myself saying yes to things that in hindsight maybe I should have said no to. I feel that I’m quite good with my time and helping people out in charitable ways. I try to be good about that, but sometimes it can take you down the wrong paths that you really don’t want to be on.
With your heavy movie schedule, balancing family, and charitable work, what does time mean to you?
For me time means finding the time to spend with my family. I would say that that time is precious.
And speaking of time, what is your preference in watches?
For our third wedding anniversary (third is leather) my wife and I gave each other vintage Omega Seamaster watches. I gave her the 1986 edition and she gave me the 1972 Omega.
Why did you choose Omega?
Well, the Omega watches are very iconic, they are elegant, sporty and sophisticated. So they can always be worn.
What else would you say is your idea of luxury?
My luxury is Hugo Boss. I’m the ambassador for the brand’s luxury scent. It’s masculine and sensual.
With such a heavy schedule as yours, what do you do to keep fit?
The madness of getting two tiny people ready for school and nursery in the morning is all the fitness that you really need in a day, My wife is actually away at the moment, so I had to get them ready before I came here, when I’m at home it’s exactly that, I’m a husband and a father, and that is all-encompassing. And it’s the role I take most seriously. It’s the only role that really matters to me in life. I love doing this (acting) for a living and you can go on a very meaningful journey and give a lot of your soul to things. And sometimes it touches people in nice ways and sometimes it’s purely entertainment, job to job. Essentially it’s a job to me, but my real life is at home. We live in the countryside, a couple of hours outside of London and that’s a choice that we’ve made for the children to give them space to have a normal life away from the flashing lights. We just prefer it that way and it’s quieter.