Jamie Dornan’s ‘Fifty Shades’ Legacy Has the Actor Still Trying to Prove His Worth

When the novel Fifty Shades of Grey was published in 2011, it seemed like a guarantee that the book would receive a movie adaptation. Though the material was a bit risqué for the big screen, the box office potential was simply too much to ignore. Fans were surprised when Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan were cast as the leads.

Both actors had some movie experience but neither experienced starring roles in a blockbuster yet. However, both made the best out of their roles in the trilogy and have gone on to star in many popular and indie films.

Jamie Dornan lands the role of Christian Grey

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend the Fifty Shades Darker premiere on February 9, 2017
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan at the Fifty Shades Darker premiere | Samir Hussein/WireImage

The Fifty Shades of Grey casting process was long and involved. Several actors and even the director quit. Pproduction scrambled to find a replacement after Sons of Anarchy‘s Charlie Hunnam vacated the role of Christian Grey, eventually filling it with Dornan.

Dornan was originally relieved when he’d missed out on the role to Hunnan. But he reconsidered when it was offered again and eventually accepted. While Dornan struggled with accepting the role, co-star Johnson also wasn’t sure she wanted to star in the film.

After a conversation with Emily Blunt convinced her, Johnson and Dornan went on to make a trilogy that grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. The film ended up on many “Worst Movies of 2015” lists with many criticizing the co-stars’ perceived lack of chemistry. But Fifty Shades of Grey didn’t have a problem succeeding at the box office.

How ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ affected Dornan’s acting career

Dornan starred in plenty of movies before and after Fifty Shades of Grey, but none have experienced the same level of success so far. Actors who give a breakout performance in one successful film can end up feeling pigeonholed into similar characters for the rest of their careers. Johnson was also vocal about the feeling of freedom in her post-Fifty career.

Dornan still feels like he’s trying to shake off his reputation as Christian Grey. He recently spoke to GQ about his career and upcoming films. The 39-year-old elaborated:

“Whether A Private War, Anthropoid, or Belfast or whatever comes next, the line in 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.”

Why Jamie Dornan is still trying to prove himself

It’s reassuring to hear Dornan is using his reputation as motivation instead of getting discouraged. Fifty Shades of Grey certainly wasn’t the most highbrow, art-house film he’s ever made. But it was his most visible. It’s understandable that fans and critics would continually compare him to the on-screen portrayal of Grey.

As long as he keeps outperforming himself, it seems like Dornan is more than happy to hear the comparison. He’s officially gone on the record to say he doesn’t regret the role. If he wants to continue using it as motivation to knock his future roles out of the park? We’re absolutely fine with that, Mr. Grey.

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