Jamie Dornan Admits to Following a Woman as Research for His Serial Killer Character on The Fall

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Method acting is a technique some actors use to create the most realistic performances. It involves getting in deep with the motivations and psychology of a character, immersing oneself in their reality.

Actors like Johnny Depp, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Christian Bale are just a few of those in the industry who employ this technique. This approach really does pull out some phenomenal performances, but one area you’d hope actors don’t method act for are activities which lead to serial killing.

In a half hour filmed chat with the LA Times, Fifty Shades of Grey star Jamie Dornan revealed something utterly shocking: he followed a woman to get in the mind of his serial killer character from The Fall, Paul Spector.

“I’m not method at all,” Dornan said, to which reporter Yvonne Villarreal replied, “I hope not with this character.” Dornan said, “good point” before launching into the following story.

Dornan: I would be arrested if I was in any way method. But in saying that, in the first series I did do a couple of things to try and be inside [Spector’s mind]. On the tube, which is our underground system in London, I did…

Villarreal: What?

Dornan: Can we get arrested for this? Hold on…

Villarreal: Were you lurking? Stalking?

Dornan: I… I…

Villarreal: Oh my god, tell me!

Dornan: I…

Villarreal: Oh my god…

Dornan: This is a really bad reveal. I, like, followed a woman off the train one day to see what it felt like to um, pursue someone like that.

Villarreal: What did it feel like?

Dornan: I really kept my distance and I was aware… it was kind of half-hearted cause I was going like, “What am I… if she turns around” you know, is she gonna notice?

Villarreal: How long did that last?

Dornan: Not long. She got off a few stops earlier than I was planning so I was, huh, “I have to commit to this here.” And um, I followed her around a couple of street corners and then I was like, “What are you doing?”

Villarreal: Did it feel weird to enter that mindset?

Dornan: It felt kind of like exciting, in a really like, sort of dirty way and I’m sort of not proud of myself. But I do honestly think I learned something from it. You know, just because I have obviously never done any of that in my life. So um, it was intriguing and interesting to sort of enter that process of like, and if “What are you following her for?” and “What are you trying to find out?” So it was interesting but no, I actually tried to have a lot of fun on set. I don’t think it’s healthy to stay in the headspace of someone who is as evil as he is.

This isn’t the first time Dornan has shocked us while discussing background work for a role. However, in this writer’s opinion, his dungeon escapades pale in comparison to this utterly horrifying tale.

It should be said, The Fall is a truly powerful series with amazing acting by all involved, but it’s not an easy watch (if you can bear to watch it at all) in any sense of the word, and that’s due in part to Dornan’s believability as a serial killer. But this reveal makes that performance all too real and is a stark reminder of just how acceptable society finds this type of behavior.

Not knowing Villarreal, I don’t feel comfortable making judgements about how she laughed her way through this portion of the interview. After all, how many of us have found ourselves reacting poorly when faced with something utterly unexpected? But hearing this story should shock you. It should make us talk about how wrong that kind of behavior is, no matter the intent behind it.

Dornan’s victim (and yes, she was a victim) never knew she was being followed. Neither do a lot of stalking targets. Lucky for her, Dornan was just “practicing” for a role—many women do not have that luxury.

(via Radio Times)

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Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” (TheNerdyBird.com). She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."