Because Season 2 of the crime thriller The Fall is available on Netflix on January 16th, show stars Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan, along with creator Allan Cubitt, were on hand at the TCA Winter Press Tour. Set in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the story of the first season continues with Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson’s (Anderson) pursuit of serial killer Paul Spector (Dornan). The stakes are higher and the risks are greater, and the more Spector taunts and provokes Gibson, the closer she comes to capturing him.
During the Netflix presentation, actor Jamie Dornan talked about what he did to get inside the mind of a serial killer, his research, having to make the best of intense scenes, whether he could return for a third season, why he likes to binge watch, being drawn to complicated characters, whether he’d like to play James Bond, if he might ever return to Once Upon a Time, and his upcoming film, The 9th Life of Louis Drax. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
JAMIE DORNAN: I think you’ve really got to cling to what makes sense to you. Obviously, I’m not a serial murderer in my real life, so that’s where you have to delve into and do all the research. But, you have to find something likable in him. I do think there are qualities to him that I wouldn’t say I admire, but that I think make him somewhat normal and that we can all understand, like being a relatively good professional and being somewhat of a good father, and I don’t think a terrible husband, for the most part. So, you have to find something human in him that makes sense to you.
What sort of research did you do to take on this role?
DORNAN: Early on, Allan [Cubitt] sent me this list of really horrible literature to read, like Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer. So, I read a few books like that and, more specifically, books on Ted Bundy. There’s so much stuff available online these days, of things like that. So, I watched endless interviews with guys like Bundy, and tried to get inside the mind of these guys, and tried to work out what it is that makes them the way they are, and what leads them to do such heinous things.
Do you think Paul Spector, as a grief counselor, understands that he’s causing a lot of the trauma that he counsels people for, or is he completely compartmentalized?
DORNAN: No, I think you’re dead-on. He’s all too aware of the damage he’s doing, and I think that makes him more sinister. He has an understanding of grief and how people deal with it and how to get people out of it, and that makes him all the more sickening.
You have a lot of intense scenes with various different actresses. How do you make the best of them and get through them?
DORNAN: You just have to rely on professionalism and see it for what it is. You have to keep the intensity there, but you’re still human beings and it’s still a bizarre position to be putting people in. It can be uncomfortable. I personally would just do everything in my power to make the moments before and after the take very light and try to make jokes with immediate effect because I don’t find it very personally comfortable to stay in the headspace of someone like Spector for too long. So, there were a lot of apologies. If I’m doing something particularly heinous to an actress, I will apologize in advance and say, “I’m probably not going to derive a huge amount of pleasure out of this. I want you to know that.” I hope it all works on screen and it makes sense and it’s all there, but it doesn’t come easy to me.
DORNAN: It’s something I’ve spoken to Allan about, and I think he’s got different ideas about how I would continue, or whether he’d continue without me. That’s all open. It’s whether there’s an appetite to have Gillian’s character try to track down another killer.
Do you ever binge watch anything, yourself, like people will do with this show?
DORNAN: I binge, yeah. My wife and I have a young daughter, and we’re both very busy with work and everything. You think you don’t have any time, at all, and then you watch a whole series in two nights. I always have this stance, when something is really popular, where I’m like, “Oh, I’m not going to watch that because everyone is watching it,” and I’m trying to be cool. I did that with Breaking Bad. We hadn’t seen any of it, and then everyone was talking about the finale so much that I was like, “We’re just going to have to cave in and watch it.” I was filming in Vancouver, at the time, and we watched all of Breaking Bad. In what must have been two months, we watched the entire show. It’s a great way to watch stuff. You can have a break when you want. It’s just all on your terms. You can watch as much of it, when you want. I think it’s a great medium.
What do you see as the differences between working in America and working in the UK?
DORNAN: I just think it’s a privilege to work, for a start. So many people do this for a living that don’t work, so I’m just privileged to work, at all. I don’t think it’s as drastically different [as some people think]. I don’t find it to be that black and white. I’ve had great experiences doing both and, if I can, I’d like to continue doing both. I feel very tied to Ireland and the UK, and that side of the world. Of course, I want to keep doing stuff there, but it’s also fun to do American stuff, as well.
Whether it’s Paul Spector or Christian Grey, you play some pretty complicated characters. Is that something you look for?
DORNAN: I’m a pretty complicated dude, myself, obviously. No. You want roles that challenge you and that scare you a little and where you can really discover something, even about yourself, that maybe you didn’t understand. I’ve been lucky recently to have roles like that. And with Spector, I was just never in a room, in a situation, for an audition, where I was even in a conversation to be considered to play someone like him. With just the way my career was, at the time, I certainly was not being given the opportunities to read and to play people like Spector, nevermind to actually attain that character.
You’ve said in the past that you want to do a role where you keep your shirt on. What role would that be for you?
DORNAN: Spector spends a lot of time with his shirt off. But then, I discovered that there’s a thing, as actors, that you seem to spend a lot of time with your shirt off. I saw Skyfall again recently, and Daniel Craig takes his top off, consistently. Maybe it’s just a thing that actors end up doing.
Would James Bond be something you’d like to do?
DORNAN: What kid doesn’t want to pretend they’re James Bond? But that’s certainly something I have no control over.
DORNAN: I love those guys. They’re like family to me. I was actually filming something on the same lot as them, just before Christmas. I don’t know. He’s kind of dead.
But that show goes back and forth in time?
DORNAN: Yeah, I know there are ways and means, but that’s something that I’m not privy to.
What other films do you have coming up, besides Fifty Shades of Grey?
DORNAN: In the middle of December, I finished a film called The 9th Life of Louis Drax, directed by Alex Aja. And it’s me, Aaron Paul and Sarah Gadon. I think that’s going to come out this year. That will be a departure. It’s a suspense, almost supernatural thriller. That’s how I categorize it, but I’m wary to categorize it because it’s a hard film to pitch. And I have a very small part in a John Wells film.
The Fall Season 2 is available on Netflix on January 16th.