The most terrifying man on television is having a quick blast of his asthma pump. “Just when you thought he couldn’t get any cooler,” says Jamie Dornan with a smile, padding his way from the dressing room through to the studio for today’s photoshoot. Putting aside the incongruity of this image for a second, Dornan is a man who – at the moment at least – you wouldn’t begrudge a spot of anxious breathlessness.
In less than 18 months he’s gone from a model and occasional actor mostly known for a series of monster Calvin Klein billboards – you know the ones: Eva Mendes, tiny briefs, liberal dousing of Crisp ’n Dry – to one of the most dropped names in Hollywood’s juice bars of power. He’s been nominated for a Bafta, appeared in acclaimed TV dramas and, the week we speak, he’ll finish work on a new Bradley Cooper comedy. He is very much on the brink. And so, of course, he’s utterly knackered.
“It’s been a fun couple of years, but I’m due a break,” he says sleepily, when we eventually sit down for a chat. “I've got the next few weeks off and, mate, I’m going to enjoy that.” He’ll need to. The show that made his acting career will soon return, bringing more opportunities, far-flung film sets, awards show appearances.
And that’s before we even touch on his biggest role to date – a gigantic, ballsy career gamble that could yet torpedo the whole enterprise and see him surrender his relative anonymity for a life dodging paparazzi lenses, as well as fans looking to get spanking paddles autographed.
So, yeah. He may want to keep that inhaler close at hand.