HBO Max's latest new series is The Tourist, an Australian-set show that is a co-production between Stan in Australia and BBC One in the UK. Fresh off of the acclaim for his most recent and Oscar-nominated film, Belfast, Jamie Dornan stars in the series alongside Danielle Macdonald and Shalom Brume-Franklin.
The Tourist stars Dornan as a British man, simply referred to as "The Man," who "finds himself in the glowing red heart of the Australian outback being pursued by a vast tank truck trying to drive him off the road. An epic cat and mouse chase unfolds and the man later wakes in the hospital, hurt, but somehow alive — except he has no idea who he is. With merciless figures from his past pursuing him, The Man’s search for answers propels him through the vast and unforgiving outback."
The unpredictability of the script and the series itself was something that drew Dornan to the project, which is his first TV role since 2018 and his first sizable television role since the early days of ABC's Once Upon a Time and BBC Two's The Fall.
"Just the constant state of flux I had as a reader reading it and thinking that the audience is going to go on this insane ride for six hours, where pretty much everything is offered up," Dornan said in a recent interview with Shadow and Act when speaking on what intrigued him. "There's genre-bending ideas [different from] what you think it is that you're in for. That's so exciting as an actor and that could have come in a different form. I'm not someone who's pressed if I'm only doing films or only doing TV or whatever. There's television that I've sort of nearly done in that time when I've been doing a lot of movies, but I didn't. So for me, it's just about like--whatever format comes-- are the scripts interesting and would I want to watch this as [the] audience? Am I offering up something different from what people have seen of me before? And The Tourist just answered all of those questions for me."
Dornan was also interested in literally and figuratively diving into how The Man finds himself.
"It's a bit of everything in there because you're finding it, you're on that journey with him, and I think you're very much on his side, for the most part," he explained. "But some of the things that are revealed to him are really dark, and morally, corrupt, wrong [and] illegal. That's an interesting journey to go on, both as [the] audience, but as an actor...to go in that sense of discovery, when some of it is light and funny, and odd. And some of it's really, really dark. It asks a lot of questions of the audience. It makes you question your instinct a lot, I think. And if you're sort of on board with someone and then you find out something really horrific about someone, it brings your judgment into question in a big way, which I find really interesting. But he is sort of endlessly changing what the sense of discovery in terms of what we find out about them."
The Tourist is also just a vastly different project for Dornan coming off of the coming-of-age film that is Belfast.
"That's just worked out so well. I love that they're so different," said Dornan of his characters in both the Focus Features film and this series. "DIfferent tonally, different characters, different mediums...I sort of love that. It sort of ends up this thing... like everything you'd want professionally look like as an actor...like you're getting to offer up all this different stuff on different platforms. And it's, it's been very cool. You know, we finished Belfast in September 2020. And then I didn't start The Tourist March 2021. Sort of, you know, a pretty big gap there. To be honest, I was writing the whole time I was writing a script with my friend. So thankfully, I had a focus to put into and then start prepping on The Tourist once I knew I was doing that, but I had to get myself in a very different headspace to to enter into that world."
Watch the full interview below, in which we also chat with Dornan's The Tourist co-star Danielle Macdonald.