Jamie Dornan Talks ‘Belfast’ and the Unread Texts He Found from His Late Father After Filming ‘Barb and Star’

Variety's Awards Circuit Podcast: Dornan also hints to the screenplay he's been writing — and when it could see the light of day.

Jamie Dornan
Zoe McConnell for Variety; Grooming: Joe Mills

It’s more than a coincidence that Jamie Dornan took on the role of Pa in “Belfast.” Having been born in the Northern Ireland town, Dornan jumped at the opportunity to take on this deeply personal story, a semi-autobiographical take on Kenneth Branagh’s childhood.

Dornan even grew up with a picture of his own father and Branagh in his house. It seems as if Dornan was waiting for the two to finally meet his entire life. On this episode of “Variety Awards Circuit Podcast,” Dornan emotionally reflects on “Belfast” being the first film to open following his father’s passing in March 2021.

Speaking about honoring his spirit through this film, and his work moving forward, he also talks about his infectious turn in “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.” That film led Dornan to find some unread texts from his father, commenting on his work in the hit comedy. Finally, he gives hints to the screenplay he’s been writing and when that could see the light of day.

Listen to the full interview with actor Jamie Dornan in the latest edition of Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast below!

Written and directed by Kenneth Branagh, “Belfast” tells the semi-autobiographical story of Buddy (Jude Hill), a young boy who lives in Northern Ireland during the tumultuous late 1960s. Alongside his working-class family that includes his parents (Jamie Dornan and Balfe) and grandparents (Ciarán Hinds and Judi Dench), the family faces life lessons and decisions that could break the family apart. The film has received critical acclaim after premiering at the Telluride Film Festival and has won multiple audience prizes on the festival circuit. At the moment, “Belfast” is one of the leading contenders for the Oscars in multiple categories including supporting actor for Dornan.

In case you missed Thursday’s episode: We also spoke with actress Dakota Johnson about her performance in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Lost Daughter,” which has had her cross paths with her former co-star, Dornan (“Fifty Shades of Grey”) on the awards circuit. And the Awards Circuit Roundtable came together to discuss the openings of Pablo Larraín’s “Spencer” with Kristen Stewart and Chloé Zhao’s “Eternals” with Gemma Chan, and what their prospects for awards could be this season. We also discussed the race for best cinematography that is robust with female cinematographers including Alice Brooks (“tick, tick…Boom!”), Claire Mithon (“Spencer”) and Ari Wegner (“The Power of the Dog”). After 93 years, could we see the second woman nominated at the Academy Awards for cinematography, following Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”) in 2017?

Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast is hosted by Clayton Davis, Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Jenelle Riley and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in movies. Michael Schneider is the producer and Drew Griffith edits. Each week, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every week.