“So many people have said this to me, that you’re almost rooting for him to get away with it, which is really weird,” says actor Jamie Dornan about his role as a serial killer in the Netflix crime drama “The Fall.” “I don’t think I want him to get away with it. I don’t really have much sympathy for the guy.” (Watch our complete video chat below.)
Dornan plays Paul Spector, a bereavement counselor in Northern Ireland who appears to be a conventional family man, but in reality is a multiple murderer. “To stay in the head-space of someone who thinks the way he does and acts on the things that he thinks about is tough,” Dornan admits.
It was especially difficult in the first season “when there’s more of seeing Spector in the act and actually carrying out these horrific crimes … You’re with some lovely actress, and you’re having to do kind of horrible things to her. I was always very apologetic, and when I was finished I always felt like I needed to get myself as far from that head space as I can.”
On the hunt for Spector throughout the series is Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson), but “in the first series, apart from one fleeting moment, we don’t have any scenes together really,” says Dornan.
He and Anderson do end up crossing paths, however, at the end of the second season, when Spector is captured by police and comes face-to-face with Gibson in an emotionally charged interrogation scene. “What a scene to get to do,” he says of filming that confrontation. “I think it’s one of the longest scenes in British television history. It was 12 or 13 pages of solid dialogue. I think it runs at 19 or 20 minutes, maybe more than that, which is a long time. It was definitely my favorite day of shooting.”
When it comes to the Emmys, voters often gravitate towards likable, empathetic roles, but villains have been more popular than ever in recent years. Consider the multiple awards that have been bestowed on killers like James Gandolfini in “The Sopranos” and Bryan Cranston in “Breaking Bad,” not to mention another prominent serial killer, John Lithgow in “Dexter.” But Dornan thinks winning awards for his performance is “a very far-fetched idea.”
He adds, “Awards are great because you put a lot of work in and you feel proud about what you’ve done often, and sometimes no one cares, and now and again, certain institutions care, and that’s a great thing … To even be nominated for any of these things is a massive enough deal. I wouldn’t even let myself get into the world of what it would be like to win.”
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