Jamie Dornan on showing the human side of people caught up in ‘war’ in Belfast

Jamie Dornan has said he hopes to show “the human side” of people caught up in a conflict they did not ask for in his new film Belfast.

The 50 Shades Of Grey actor, who is from the Northern Irish city, stars in the film inspired by Sir Kenneth Branagh’s childhood in the 1960s at the start of the Troubles.

Arriving at the movie’s European premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, he told the PA news agency: “It can’t be taken lightly, this is a conflict that defined the part of the world that I’m from.

“When people see that word, when people see Belfast, they think of a war.

“That’s taken me a lot of time travelling around the world for the last 20 years to realise what that really is.

“I mean, sometimes I say I’m from Belfast, and people are like, ‘How did you get out alive?’ That’s how they think of it.

“So it’s nice to be able to show the human side of the people there, a real family, a hard-working, working class community, and seeing the sort of resilience and the humour of those people.

Belfast European premiere – BFI London Film Festival 2021
Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe (Ian West/PA)

“That’s people who didn’t ask for this and were dragged into this thing, and I think it’s important to see it that way and see it with that lens, which I don’t really think anyone’s done before.”

Dornan, who stars with Caitriona Balfe as the parents of young boy Buddy, said he took the responsibility of playing a role inspired by Sir Kenneth’s father very seriously, but the filmmaker always made him feel at at ease.

He said: “He made us feel so comfortable and I never felt that comfortable, at ease and confident on a set before, and that is all Ken.

“We’re playing his parents and that’s a big ask, but we never felt that extra pressure.

“He just made us feel for some unbeknownst reason that we were the right people to be there and telling that story with him, and we never lost sight of that feeling.”

Belfast is released in UK cinemas on February 25 2022.