“The performance of the ballet left a lasting impact on me!” Jamie Dornan shares his thoughts on the unexpected comeback of The Tourist – and the overwhelming reaction from 50 Shades fans.
During the filming of one of the most highly anticipated dramas of 2024, a terrifying incident occurred. Jamie Dornan, Danielle Macdonald (referred to as “Dani Mac” on set), and the crew of The Tourist were shooting a night-time action scene in a very eerie house that they all believed was haunted. During a break, they noticed something that scared them to their core: the name “Dani” written on a wall. Within an hour, it had disappeared and was replaced with the name “Mac”. Macdonald begged her colleagues to confess to the prank, but none of them claimed responsibility. An hour later, a new message appeared: “you die”. There was no logical explanation for these events.
This is what they believed.
“I’m the one who did it!” chuckles Jamie Dornan, dressed in a cozy sweater and sporting a beard when we first met. “Dani was so scared that I actually felt genuinely sorry for a moment.” He takes a moment to pause. “But I continued the prank for the rest of the day anyway.”
We are discussing the upcoming second season of The Tourist. The first season of this thrilling show was the most popular TV drama of 2022, with 11.4 million viewers watching the action-packed and suspenseful series. The story follows Elliot, who suffers from amnesia, as he tries to uncover his identity and gets involved in a criminal world where he takes Helen, a police officer, hostage. Despite their initial situation, the two end up falling in love. The second season continues the intense pace as it takes place in Ireland and delves into Elliot’s past, involving kidnappings, molotov cocktails, and hilarious moments. Picture thugs in ski masks dancing to the Pretenders’ “Brass in Pocket” and a clever joke about a popular coffee chain in the middle of a fight – it’s all absolutely crazy.
Perhaps a bit too crazy. “I have legitimate PTSD!” chuckles Dornan, when questioned about a storyline that hints at his character performing a spectacular ballet dance later in the series. “I messaged Jack and Harry [Williams, the showrunners] when I first saw it: ‘Really…what’s happening here?'” He hides his face with his hands and shifts uncomfortably. “You’ll just have to keep watching, but there’s something in there that I may not have been entirely pleased with.”
Dornan, who is known for his role as a sexually adventurous character in the popular Fifty Shades of Grey movie franchise, has surprised many with his lack of humor on screen. In contrast, off-camera he is known for his constant joking and comedic nature, as evidenced by YouTube clips of his appearances on Graham Norton’s talk show where he shares embarrassing stories. Macdonald, a colleague of Dornan’s, describes him as a “big jokester”. In fact, Dornan even pursued a career in comedy writing at the beginning of his acting career, contributing to Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die website and writing comedic scripts, although he admits they may not have been as funny as he had hoped since they were never produced. It’s possible that if it weren’t for his role in Fifty Shades of Grey, he may have been recognized more for his comedic talents rather than his sex appeal.
“The fan base for that franchise is still very enthusiastic,” he states. “They have numerous wild theories, such as Dakota [Johnson, his co-star in Fifty Shades] and I having a child together. I’m not sure who they think would be responsible for that!”
“I once experienced a situation where we had to involve the authorities due to stalking,” he winces, remembering how a “ridiculous gossip magazine” published photos of his home. Luckily, now it’s just strange and suggestive comments on his Instagram posts. “I receive all sorts of bizarre content, which honestly makes me quite uneasy, so I try to avoid it.”
Fortunately, the intimate moments in The Tourist are not as significant: an unseen encounter in a hotel room, Helen and Elliott sharing a bedsheet-covered kiss on a sweaty train to Cambodia. Actress Macdonald reflects, “It’s quite strange to realize I’ve had intimate scenes with the actor from Fifty Shades of Grey.” She has also acted in Hollywood films alongside stars like Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston. However, it is her undeniable chemistry with Dornan that adds depth to The Tourist. It is so touching and endearing that it has largely overshadowed any criticism of the fact that a character who falls in love with the man who threatens her with a gun may not be the strongest role model for women.
She assures, “I also find it completely ridiculous.” “Do you remember when he abducted me? And now we have a healthy relationship? But it’s something that will be addressed this season.”
Similar to its predecessor, the second season of The Tourist has a unique tone that shifts between emotional backstories and intense action, with unexpected moments of humor. This style has become characteristic of its creators, the Williams Brothers, known for their gripping kidnapping story The Missing and their current blend of violence and absurdity in the BBC drama Boat Story.
“We often receive comparisons to the Coen brothers,” states Harry Williams, discussing their shared interest in blending quirky elements with action. His brother and co-creator Jack adds, “But not the Duffer Brothers, so it’s not simply a matter of being siblings.” The pair, who initially aimed to pursue careers as comedy writers (“before facing widespread ridicule and criticism”), cannot resist injecting humor into their scripts. While writing for The Missing, they began entertaining themselves by including intentionally absurd scenes, such as “James Nesbitt talking to an alien while not wearing pants.” Over time, they began incorporating humor into their actual scripts.
There are many exciting action scenes in the first two episodes, including a scuba murder, a fast chase on a quad bike, and daring dangles on a cliff. Despite publicly expressing skepticism, this does little to dispel rumors that Dornan may become the next James Bond. His response when asked if he would like to rule himself out only adds to the speculation.
He stated that he is unlikely to be the next James Bond. However, he believes that the best person to ask about that would be Barbara Broccoli.
He has always been most interested in playing a small role in the DayGlo kids’ film, Trolls World Tour. He contacted Donna Langley, the head of Universal, to express his desire to be a part of the film, even if it meant taking on any role. His persistence paid off, and he was able to surprise his three daughters by being in a movie they love. However, this led to them continuously asking him to appear in another show, Free Rein, on Netflix. He joked that he is unable to do so due to his supposed allergy to horses.
This time, filming The Tourist was a completely different experience for Dornan. It was inevitable, considering that the first season was filmed in Australia just days after his father’s passing. Dornan was stuck in quarantine for four days in an Australian hotel room during this difficult time. “I was in a state of extreme grief when I started that job,” he reflects. “But this time around, I had a lot of fun throughout the whole season,” Dornan adds. Director Macdonald also shares her thoughts on working with Dornan, saying “He’s always on the move and loves playing pranks. He adds so much to the fun atmosphere on set.” It seems that Macdonald has forgiven him for scaring her with fake hauntings, but she can’t help but wonder if his recent confession is just another one of his jokes. “I have to believe it was him,” she admits. “Otherwise, I’d be too scared to function.”
The Tourist will be available on iPlayer at 6am on January 1st, and will also air on BBC One at 9pm.