Goffe’s wild existence accounts for Dornan’s unkempt hair.
While most of the cast sport rather elaborate full-head wigs, Dornan gets what he explains is a three-quarter-length number: some straggling wisps glued on to his own short back and sides, which he tugs at when we talk. ‘Abe’s a character who has sacrificed pretty much everything in his life,’ he explains.
These are events that form your identity, I think.’ In what way, I ask.
‘I don’t know, probably nothing too positive, I think it’s changed my view on mortality and death.’ It was his father’s second wife, Samina, also an obstetrician, who encouraged Dornan to go to London to seek his fortune modelling in 2002. The chief thing he recalls from the Calvin Klein shoots is ‘a lot of people rubbing me down with dark, oily tanning stuff – I mean, I’m a white Irish guy, it was a problem.’ He had done a bit of drama at school and knew he wanted to work in a creative field.
The Troubles were still rumbling along in the background during his childhood, which inevitably affected him.
‘I think people from Northern Ireland have some kind of unspoken general feeling of what it is to be around segregation,’ Dornan, who considers himself, nominally, a Protestant, says.
‘Including a razor.’ At the time of my set visit – summer 2013 – Dornan is best known for his modelling career (particularly his shirtless campaigns for Calvin Klein), and for his mesmeric performance as an alarmingly attractive serial killer in BBC Two’s drama series The Fall – which also starred Gillian Anderson as the police officer determined to track him down – which aired last May.
It’s a tiny percentage who have ruined it for that country, that pisses everyone else off.’ When he was 16 the rugby-mad Dornan’s childhood was devastated by the death of his mother from pancreatic cancer. ‘But it’s a very transitional time being that age, and a very impressionable time.No, I’m asking for work, and I’m asking to get paid for doing something I love.I’m not asking to be followed down a street by some f****** pap.’ This sentiment is exacerbated by his previous experience of this world, when he was in a relationship with Keira Knightley for two years, from 2003 to 2005.Calvin Klein came knocking too, and the resultant pictures in pants earned him the nickname ‘the Golden Torso’. And then he went to LA for auditions during the pilot season, which he describes as ‘one of the most dehumanising things anyone could ever go through – on an entertainment level, that is.’ He ‘got lucky’, with a reasonably big part in the first season of the hit ABC fantasy series Once Upon a Time, playing a sheriff who turns out to be the Huntsman from Snow White.It premiered in America in 2011 and netted ratings of 12 million a week.