Jamie Dornan says it was one of his toughest roles, but The Tourist was worth it. The six-part limited series, which debuted on the BBC and later on HBO Max, follows Dornan’s character as he wakes up in the hospital after an accident with no memory of his past life, which was messy.
Instead of focusing on memory loss and the fact that, well, he did some things that caused a lot of trouble and made some people want to be killed, The Tourist leans towards humor.
“I think the way he plays the tone, often jumping so abruptly from drama to comedy,” Dornan notes about what sets the series apart—and what got him interested. “Once you think you have control over what happens, you’re wrong.”
As his character, mostly referred to as “The Man”, tries to move forward, he begins to piece together what he’s done with the help of cop Helen Chambers (played by Danielle McDonald). He soon realized that he had skeletons in the closet that still had legs to catch up with him.
From time to time, the series becomes a bit of a cat-and-mouse game, with the mouse trying to figure out how it got its tail in the first place.
When the show, created and written by Harry and Jack Williams, premiered on BBC One, it skyrocketed: the pilot reached 4.6 million viewers, becoming the most watched original scripted BBC iPlayer show to date. It currently remains the most watched show on the streaming platform.
“I’ve never had to approach a character before who doesn’t know who they are, so for me it was almost the opposite process of not allowing myself a backstory and accepting each of his discoveries as something new,” he says. Dornan. “I often tried to look at my most vulnerable moments when I felt lost or scared and use them.”
Although he did not feel intimidated on set, filming in several different locations in the Australian outback left him feeling insecure. The hardest part, according to the Irish actor, was the environment. “We filmed everything from hot days to icy cold mornings,” he shares. “We also dealt with constant sandstorms.”
Luckily, hunger wasn’t one of his problems, and he added, “I must have eaten a dozen or more flies!”