‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Star Jamie Dornan on Playing Anti-Nazi Hero in ‘Anthropoid’

'Fifty Shades of Grey' Star Jamie
Courtesy of Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

Jamie Dornan was welcomed to Karlovy Vary by festival president Jiri Bartoska (right)

KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic — “Fifty Shades of Grey” star Jamie Dornan was among the guests at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival Thursday, where he presented his next movie project “Anthropoid,” which begins filming in the Czech Republic next month. He was joined by the movie’s director Sean Ellis, who previously helmed critically-lauded crime drama “Metro Manila.”

Dornan plays Jan Kubis, one of two real-life Czechoslovak resistance fighters who assassinated leading Nazi Reinhard Heydrich, one of the architects of the Holocaust, during World War II. The role of the other assassin involved in the killing, code-named Operation Anthropoid, is to be played by Cillian Murphy.

“These were just normal guys who were fighting for something they fiercely believed in,” Dornan said at a press conference. “A lot of that work, thankfully, is done for me on the page (of the script by Ellis and Anthony Frewin). All the human flaws and all the things that make him a tangible person, the everyman you can relate to are on the page, which is great. They’re heroes in the sense of what they did, but very much on the page you see that they are flawed, and have very human aspects to them that would hinder trying to carry out an exercise like this.”

Dornan contrasted the way he prepared for the role with his approach to the part of serial killer Paul Spector, who he plays in crime series “The Fall.” “There are things about Jan that will make sense to me more personally rather than having to really dig too far. He’s a man with a mission to carry out, and it’s a mission for the right reasons. It’s not someone like Spector who is murdering people just for no good reason… This is murder in a sense, but it’s for a greater good,” he said.

Dornan said that he could relate to Jan’s character, which gave him the motivation to take the role. “You always need a drive in everything you do and a reason to tell the story. As an actor, you’ve got to have something that drives you every day on the set,” he said. “Could there be any stronger drive needed than the opportunity to assassinate someone so horrific? There’s nobody in the world now who can’t see that Heydrich was evil… So to have that, to bring that to work every day, I’m so excited about the idea of having that as my drive.”

The assassination of Heydrich led to brutal reprisals in Czechoslovakia, but Dornan said that in his eyes it was the right thing to do. “Ultimately, I think it sent a very strong message to show that the Czech people were up for a fight and weren’t willing to be treated in that way. For me, I see it as a very heroic act. I think if I was in that position myself, I probably would have done the same thing. I have a strong understanding of why people see it the other way, based on events afterwards, but for me personally, I think they ultimately had to do what they had to do,” he said.

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  1. Sue Righton says:

    I love movies that tell a true story and make you think! Will be very interesting and thought provoking
    To see when it comes out ..

  2. I wrote this reply already once to Maureen, but I lost it. So here goes again. Simply put, I agree with your comments completely, Maureen and Micheline and Susan Trout. This story is compelling and intriguing. Jamie Dornan is just perfect. Dakota Johnson is perfect. I can’t get over what an extraordinary actor young Mr. Dornan is! I guess at my age, I’m sort of embarrassed that I’ve become so obsessed with Jamie Dornan and this trio of books/movies. It’s just that the story has touched me deeply. It’s about obtaining unconditional love, losing it, and finding it again. The pain involved. It’s about deep wounds, exterior protective armor, innocence, innocence lost, and the death of an innocent. It’s a very sexy story, but there’s so much more than the sex. I was dismayed when I could not express all that to friends and relatives who could not abide the idea. So, I learned to let it go and let them continue in their vacuum. I liked, especially, that Maureen pointed out how the critics got it so wrong!

  3. Maureen says:

    Both Jamie and Dakota were inspired choices for the roles of Christian and Anna. The more I watch Fifty, the more I respect the script writers skill and the subsequent acting. I hope that both actors are given the opportunity to add their interpretations into their roles in the next movie. The ‘professional critics’, who so obviously got it wrong, if sales are anything to go by, are in my view, out of touch with a large proportion of the population: perhaps the critics never got past the sexy toys, to the strong underlying love story of the trilogy. Fifty Shades has had the same affect on romance books and films, as Elvis had on music. Looking forward to the next 2 movies, shame we have to wait so long.

  4. Micheline says:

    Jamie Dornan & Dakota Johnson are
    very talented. This grand mother loved the film & looks forward to Fifty Shades Darker. Will Jamie & Dakota regret playing Christian Grey & Ana? I don’t think so. It has propelled them into fame & the rest is up to them. Good love stories are rare & for my money I prefer them to all the violence shown on screen.

  5. I agree that Jamie Dornan is incredibly talented and has shown he has depth and a natural instinct to identify with and cultivate the character he is playing. I don’t for one minute think he made a mistake in taking on the role of Christian Grey. First and foremost, the books are more about the transformation and redemption of the main character, Christian Grey, than they are about kinky sex, although it is a strong and integral part. It is a very unusual love story but one that has captured the imagination of millions of woman all over the world. I enjoyed all three books but am looking forward most to the second installment in the trilogy–Fifty Shades Darker. Dornan fits the part of Christian Grey in every sense–physically, he’s perfect, and he has admitted to looking forward to delving deeper into Grey’s character in the next two films. He has no worries! As versatile as he is as an actor, he’ll not get type-cast. I look forward to seeing him in a romantic comedy. He has a refreshing and genuine sense of humor, too!

  6. Mr. Dornan is an amazingly talented and versatile actor, Unfortunately it may be many, many years before he is referred to as anything but the “Fifty Shades of Grey” star. He has so much more to his credit. Could you just refer to him at Jamie Dornan, or maybe Mr. Dornan? Considering what he said about Christian Grey and how disturbed he was by the research he had to do for the part, I can’t help but wonder if, even though he made money and stands to make more, if he will live to regret his association with a project that has received little but bad reviews. A true artist will trade money for the respect of those who are paid to make or break a star. I have enjoyed seeing him in various projects and hope those will be what he is remembered for, not Grey.

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