×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Fifty Shades’ Star Jamie Dornan on the Time He Drunk Auditioned for ‘Rock of Ages’

Jamie Dornan is now a bonafide box office star thanks to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” but the 32-year-old actor spent a stretch of his 20s in Los Angeles trying to make it as an actor. During a two-hour interview with Variety in January, he talked about some of his early experiences, his worst audition ever and the time he saw Fabio at the gym.

Dornan, who grew up in Ireland, started as a fashion model.
“My sister had encouraged me to go on this U.K. reality show called ‘Model Behavior.’ I reluctantly went. I didn’t get very far on the show, thankfully. I ended up joining the agency that was behind it, and then I was with them. I never got a huge amount of joy when I was modeling. No disrespect. I didn’t want to be one of those guys modeling when I was in my 40s.”

In his mid-20s, he moved to L.A., where he became pals with struggling Brit actors Andrew Garfield and Eddie Redmayne.
“I really disliked L.A. when I arrived. I thought it was a really weird place. I was just renting an apartment and doing whatever you do when you’re an actor not working in L.A. There was no pressure. The stakes weren’t that high, because we weren’t really getting work. We played a lot of table tennis and volleyball and had nice dinners. What’s the song [‘Drinking in L.A.’] — ‘What the hell am I doing drinking in L.A. at 26?’ We kept singing that.”

Dornan auditioned for the lead in “Rock of Ages,” but it didn’t go too well.
“I had to sing ‘Waiting for a Girl Like You.’ It’s nearly impossible to sing, and I’ve got quite a deep voice when I sing. My audition was at 10 in the morning on the Warner Bros. lot. I convinced myself it would be a good idea to have a bit of whiskey to relax my vocal cords and maybe as a bit of a confidence booster. Suddenly, I took a swig of Jameson and I instantly f–ing puked. So I’m standing with all these executives driving around in golf carts, as I’m vomiting on the lot. It was a bad look. I hadn’t been clever enough to bring mouth wash. And then I had to go in, stinking of whiskey and vomit and proceed to sing ‘Waiting for a Girl Like You,’ which I couldn’t sing. It was the worst situation ever. Obviously, I didn’t hear anything back.”

He spotted Fabio at the gym.
“I went on a trial at the L.A. Equinox, and I only went twice. Both times Fabio — that guy on the cover of those romance novels — was there. It was the weirdest scene ever I’d seen at the gym. It made me not join. I don’t need to be watching people watch Fabio working out.”

Dornan saw plenty of movies growing up.
“I liked ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Teen Wolf.’ I loved John Hughes movies. I had two older sisters, and was subjected to them early on, so I ended up liking ‘The Breakfast Club,’ ‘Sixteen Candles’ and ‘Mr. Mom.’ As you get older, your tastes change. ‘Badlands’ is my favorite movie of all time.”

He wants to alternate between studio and indie projects.
“Honestly, I feel so f–ing privileged to work. I’m doing a big studio movie. You can’t take those things for granted. It’s insanity when you think a couple years ago, the stuff I’d audition for and really wanted and didn’t get. That’s the madness to this industry.”

More Film

  • Christian Gabela

    Gaumont Appoints 'El Chapo' Executive Producer to VP of International Co-Productions

    Gaumont has appointed Christian Gabela, the executive producer of “El Chapo,” as vice president of international TV co-productions. Gabela’s role will be to manage and expand the company’s TV distribution and co-production partnerships in key territories internationally with a focus on Latin America. Gaumont is currently developing the series “El Presidente,” its first Latin American [...]

  • The Peanut Butter Falcon

    'The Peanut Butter Falcon,' 'For Sama' Win Top Awards at Nantucket Film Festival

    NANTUCKET, Mass. — Adventure drama “The Peanut Butter Falcon” and Syria documentary “For Sama” emerged as the top winners at the 24th annual Nantucket Film Festival. The festival, which concludes today, as ever put the emphasis on screenwriters and emerging talents. Director Paul Downs Colaizzo’s Sundance hit “Brittany Runs a Marathon” had a number of [...]

  • Bill Murray

    Bill Murray to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award From Wes Anderson at Rome Festival

    The Rome Film Festival will celebrate Bill Murray with its lifetime achievement award, which will be presented to him by Wes Anderson. Anderson, who has directed Murray in some of his most iconic roles, most notably in “The Royal Tenenbaums,” and in several other films such as “The Darjeeling Limited,” “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Grand Budapest [...]

  • CLOSE QUARTERS – In Disney and

    'Toy Story 4': 5 Takeaways From Opening Weekend

    Despite arriving below expectations, “Toy Story 4” did huge business this weekend with ticket sales surpassing $118 million in North America. As sequels hailing from beloved franchises continue to flounder at the box office, Disney and Pixar’s cartooned fourquel is a much-needed win for the movie business. It now ranks among the top debuts for [...]

  • Prince Death

    Prince’s ‘Batman' at 30: How the Film Saved His Career From ‘Horrible’ Financial Straits

    As the movie that ushered in both the modern-day superhero genre and a new peak in the art of saturation marketing, Tim Burton’s “Batman” has a legacy that’s hard to overstate. Virtually everything associated with the 1989 comic-book adaptation became a cultural phenomenon, from Burton’s mischievous, mainstream-goth aesthetic to the meta-narrative of the film’s record-breaking [...]

  • Lucrecia MartelVenice Film Festival 2017, Italy

    Argentina's Lucrecia Martel Named Venice Jury President

    Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel has been named the president of the jury at this year’s Venice Film Festival, the event’s 76th edition. Venice chief Alberto Barbera praised Martel as “Latin America’s most important female director and one of the top female directors worldwide,” adding that she had achieved this status with just “four feature films [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content