Jamie Dornan on Filming Belfast’s “Everlasting Love” Scene: “An Amazing Feeling”

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In Belfast, writer-director Kenneth Branagh’s black-and-white ode to his childhood, a young boy named Buddy (Jude Hill) escapes from his often-turbulent reality via movies. One day it’s the splashy musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the next it’s the classic Western High Noon. It becomes clear that Buddy idolizes Jamie Dornan’s Pa as his own version of a strapping movie star, despite his all-too human faults.

Dornan says he, too, worshipped his father and would project his own dreams onto high-profile stars. “For me, growing up, it was anyone who’s from Belfast or from the North of Ireland, who is doing well in movies,” the actor tells V.F.’s Katey Rich. “The idea that you came from that place and could be in movies, was crazy to me. Still is, to be honest.”

Northern Ireland’s own Liam Neeson would become Dornan’s matinee idol. “I remember I was probably more in my teens, early teens when Liam had really become a big star,” he remembers. “He’s obviously a huge star, almost in a different realm now with what he’s done in the last 15 years with his work.” Dornan has hit his own stride in Hollywood, even scoring a recent best-supporting-actor Golden Globe nomination. He talks about his homegrown role—and that singing scene—on this week’s episode of Little Gold Men.

Elsewhere on LGM, Katey joins hosts Richard Lawson, Rebecca Ford, and David Canfield for spirited analysis of the Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, including all of the biggest snubs and surprises. They also recap the madcap Golden Globes and discuss Sidney Poitier’s indelible legacy.

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Give a listen to the episode above, and find Little Gold Men on Apple Podcasts or anywhere else you get your podcasts. You can also sign up to text with us at Subtext—we’d love to hear from you.

Read a partial transcript of the Jamie Dornan interview below.

Vanity Fair: You’ve said when on set, you’d ask Kenneth Branagh, “What would your father have done? What was this moment like?” And it didn’t feel like he was prescribing to you what the character was, it felt like guidance. How did he strike that balance, that you felt empowered with that information and not trapped?

Jamie Dornan: It was very much him feeling like he was telling me whatever information I was seeking from him. He’d be like, “Use that how you will. Absorb that in whatever way you need it to work for you, but as long as Jamie’s instinctually doing what you wanted to do anyway, then I’m happy.” Because he was just, right from the beginning of Belfast, instilling this idea in me, and all of us really, that he wanted us to bring our own vibe to it, and we should not be trying to be some carbon copy of an idea of who his parents were.

The reality was, of course we’re playing real people, but it is a version of them and it’s not like where you’re playing a real person who’s very famous, and you can mimic them, and copy their physicality, and their movements, and their tone of voice. That’s not what we’re dealing with, so it was easier just to find a freedom to bring what we instinctually thought was right for these characters.

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