Jamie Dornan had 50 reasons to say no to “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The actor, who stepped into the role of Christian Grey after Charlie Hunnam exited the part last minute, admitted during the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast that he had to seek “counsel” from close friends and fellow actors over accepting the part. Dornan co-starred with Dakota Johnson in the 2015 film adapted from E.L. James’ novels, which were inspired by “Twilight” fan fiction.
“It wasn’t an instant yes by any means,” Dornan said. “It needed to be talked through. I sought counsel from friends, family, a lot of actors.”
He added that he felt “a bit of relief” after knowing he originally lost the part to Hunnam “because I knew that guy is going to get wrecked here.” Dornan continued, “(Hunnam) 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.”
The “Belfast” actor explained that taking on erotic drama “Fifty Shades of Grey” was more than just an average film part. “I knew that it came with all that baggage,” he said. “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.”
Dornan told IndieWire in 2021, “The fans, for the most part, loved it and it made a ton of money. I think if everyone’s honest with themselves, that was the main two intentions going into it. We were aware that the critics probably weren’t going to love it, because the critics did not love the books. I don’t know how we would’ve changed that when we were sticking so close to the books. But there’s no regret or anything.”
The “A Haunting in Venice” star added in his new interview, “Movies that are made for the fans that fans love can be seen as a success. I’m grateful that Dakota and I have managed to come out (in the years since) and make work that people still like and have had some of those said critics do a bit of a 180.”
Dornan’s co-star Johnson noted in 2022 that the original “Fifty Shades of Grey” script was a “very different version” than the final film, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. “Closer” playwright Patrick Marber penned the revised script, but after actor Hunnam dropped out of the film due to a scheduling conflict, author James was so upset, she scrapped the new script, despite director Taylor-Johnson trying to use it on set.
“(Author E.L. James, who goes by Erika,) had a lot of creative control, all day, every day, and she just demanded that certain things happen,” Johnson told Vanity Fair. “There were parts of the books that just wouldn’t work in a movie, like the inner monologue, which was at times incredibly cheesy. It wouldn’t work to say out loud. It was always a battle. Always.”
She added, “We’d do the takes of the movie that Erika wanted to make, and then we would do the takes of the movie that we wanted to make. The night before, I would rewrite scenes with the old dialogue so I could add a line here and there. It was like mayhem all the time.”