Jamie Dornan at a Q and A for the film 'Belfast' at the 44th. DFF 2021 - Denver Film Festival

'Fifty Shades Of Grey:' How The Movie Affected Jamie Dornan's Career

Home / News / 'Fifty Shades Of Grey:' How The Movie Affected Jamie Dornan's Career

By Favour Adegoke on November 14, 2021 at 6:43 AM EST

When considering the bestselling books of this decade, most book lovers might guess that the "Fifty Shades Of Grey" trilogy is sure to be among the top ten. However, according to NPD Bookscan, the trilogy has done more than that, earning the top spot after selling 15.2 million copies from 2010 through 2019.

It is therefore not surprising that Universal Pictures and Focus Features hurriedly snapped the movie rights so they could ride on the waves of its early success.

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Jamie Dornan at the Belfast Premiere
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Before the film production started, movie fans anticipated that studio execs would choose familiar and experienced stars for the roles of BDSM enthusiast Christian Grey and his wide-eyed romantic interest Anastasia Steele. Their final choice of Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson left them puzzled and brought the assumption that the movie might bomb.

Ultimately, the first installment was a box office hit, followed by the success of its sequels. Read on for more details about how Dornan landed the role and his legacy afterward.

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Jamie Dornan Was Not The First Choice For The Role

Selecting the lead roles of the risqué flick was by no means an easy feat. Several actors auditioned but did not do enough to convince the producers to cast them. After an arduous process, two actors came up top, Charlie Hunnam and Dornan.

In the end, Hunnam got selected for the role of young business magnate Christian Grey. As fans already know, he did not act the part - due to scheduling conflicts and a need to rest after his "Sons of Anarchy" performance.

The closest available replacement was Dorman, who had already moved on since the initial loss. He took a while to consider the offer but later accepted the role alongside Johnson as his co-star.

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The first installment debuted on February 11, 2015, amid mixed reactions. Many bashed the film for lacking a detailed script, while others went after the bland chemistry of the lead actors. Despite the many negative reviews, all three installments of the film were a commercial success.

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'Fifty Shades Of Grey's' Impact On Dornan's Financial Life

After the first installment, Dornan's fame grew to the extent of gathering a cult following. Later, speculations came up that his wife was uncomfortable with all the attention he received from female fans and wanted him to quit.

In the end, he ended up reprising his role in subsequent installments, earning millions in the process. Recently, he admitted that the movie changed his life, particularly upgrading his financial status.

"It's provided a lot." Dornan told GQ in an interview. "There's no shame in saying it's transformed my life and my family's life financially. I am very, very grateful for this and always will be. And the fans loved it. Everyone involved worked as hard as they could on those films, including me."

Surely the flick has etched an indelible mark on his career far more than he could have expected.

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'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Impact On Dornan's Career

Acting in a big movie has positive sides. First, the fame that follows the movie's premiere is overwhelming, coupled with the massive financial rewards as salary and bonus.

However, in most cases, the actor is faced with some drawbacks due to the media's consistent use of the big hit as a benchmark to determine any future career move. For Dorman, this scenario is currently playing out in his life as the media keeps referencing his Christian Grey role in his new movies.

USA - Belfast Premiere - Los Angeles
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Still, in the interview with GQ, he said, "Whether A Private War, Anthropoid, or Belfast or whatever comes next, the line in the press is always, 'It's the best thing he has done since Fifty Shades Of Grey."

Well, one might not blame the media for stating "Fifty Shades Of Grey" every time they write about Dorman. The movie was such a big hit that it would take a long while for public interest to fizzle out.

Dornan Wants To Prove Himself

Rather than get angry at the media for their actions, Dornan views it as an opportunity to prove that he can play better roles that would outshine and outlive the trilogy.

"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," he admitted in the GQ interview.

"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."

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Dorman's perspective of the media's frequent reference to his "Fifty Shades Of Grey" role might give fans a reassuring feeling. It is safe to assume that he won't rest on his laurels but strive to become a better and more refined actor. He is already proving this as his new movie "Belfast" has started gathering claims for an Oscar.

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