The Aussie favourite UK actor will have trouble leaving behind

Two long weeks in mandatory quarantine in a Sydney hotel room introduced Hollywood star Jamie Dornan to his new great obsession.

With his family in tow, the UK-based actor arrived in Australia in March to film the upcoming Stan thriller series The Tourist.

But the stint in quarantine, gruelling for any international arrival, led Dornan to an unexpectedly joyous discovery: Tim Tams.

“They loaded our accommodation with Tim Tams and I’d never had them before,” Dornan told from his temporary home in Adelaide, where he’s been filming.

“I had a packet-and-a-half just the other day, just by myself, watching stuff on Netflix one night when the family was away. A packet of originals and half a pack of caramels. It was pretty brutal,” he laughed.

Tim Tams are not the only part of Aussie life the Fifty Shades of Grey and The Fall actor has come to love during his months in South Australia so far.

Jamie Dornan is in South Australia to film the Stan thriller series The Tourist. Picture: Ian RoutledgeSource:Supplied

Actor discovers beauty of Kangaroo Island

On a recent break from filming in the outback, Dornan and his musician wife Amelia Warner and their three daughters got to discover another local gem – Kangaroo Island, the spectacular island off the South Australian coast that’s in the midst of a revival since the 2019 bushfires.

They stayed at Oceanview Eco Villas, run by husband and wife team Tim and Tamsin Wendt – “Tim and Tam,” Dornan said.

“It was a beautiful place and everything they have is local to the island as best it can be. The food was brilliant, and there were beautiful views over the water, and kangaroos running around.

“They had a baby joey there and the kids got to feed it its milk every night. Our middle child hasn’t stopped talking about this joey since; she’s just obsessed with it. It’s been amazing for the kids.”

The actor and a staff member at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park.Source:Supplied

Sightseeing with the kids.Source:Supplied

The family took in Kangaroo Island’s abundant wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, and came to appreciate how the island was recovering from a bushfire disaster so hellish, that before Covid-19 at least, it was all the world could talk about.

“It’s such a beautiful place and the coastline is insane,” Dornan said.

“We were aware there were fires over here, but not to what degree and where or what region, and you could see the fire damage. But they were telling us the crops and grass are growing back quicker than they imagined, which was positive to hear.

“I think sometimes when something dreadful like that happens it rejuvenates a place in a way, like they’re all in it together to get back to what it was. You really got that sense from people in the community that they’re willing to fight to get people back over there. And the ferry there and back was packed, so it’s a good sign people are coming and going.”

The kids take in the coastal view.Source:Supplied

‘It’s such a beautiful place,’ Dornan said of Kangaroo Island.Source:Supplied

Dornan’s wife, the musician and composer Amelia Warner, gets close to the locals while sightseeing in South Australia. Picture: Instagram/@awarnermusicSource:News Limited Network

Stan thriller filmed in South Australian outback

When he hasn’t been playing tourist on Kangaroo Island, Dornan has been playing the titular out-of-towner in The Tourist, a six-part action thriller for BBC One/HBO Max/Stan, written by sibling duo Harry and Jack Williams (Fleabag, The Missing).

Shot in South Australia, and co-starring Hugo Weaving and Dumplin’ actor Danielle Macdonald, The Tourist is “kind of what it says on the tin,” Dornan said.

“It’s a fish out of water story where I play a guy who finds himself in the Australian outback in quite bizarre circumstances and everything is revealed to the audience over a period of time, as to why he is there and who he is,” the actor said.

The series has been mostly shot in the South Australian outback. Picture: Ian RoutledgeSource:Supplied

“It has insane twists and turns like nothing I’ve ever read before, so it’s hard to talk about it in depth without putting my foot in it.”

The series has mainly been shot in the outback, with cast and crew based in Port Augusta and Quorn – a tiny town in the Flinders Ranges that was quite unlike anywhere Belfast-born Dornan had spent time before.

“It’s a harsh environment to film in so consistently for such a long time, but I loved it,” he said.

“I stayed in this great place called the Great Northern Lodge, another family-run business, run by a woman called Wendy and her daughter Sally, who cooked us homemade food every night when we got in, no matter what time we finished, and it was lovely.

A still from the upcoming series. Picture: Ian RoutledgeSource:Supplied

“My takeaway was just how dark it is out there. The stars are incredible because there’s no light pollution to speak of. And if you go out with crew and cast for pints after work, you come out of the pub and it’s pitch blackness – there’s no street lights. It’s kind of eerie. But it’s amazing.”

He’s also become a major fan of Adelaide.

“It’s the easiest place we’ve ever lived, I think,” he said.

“There’s nothing that takes more than 20 minutes. You can be 45 minutes in the car from the front door and be in somewhere like Willunga, and usually from a city centre you need to drive for hours and hours to get to a place like that.”

Australia now a desirable location for film productions

Before The Tourist, Dornan had only spent about a week in Australia, more than a decade ago: Work had never brought him here, and the unrelenting schedule of the in-demand actor left little time for holidaying in such far-flung lands.

Dornan shot to stardom with his role as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades trilogy.Source:News Regional Media

But with Australia now a hugely desired location for international film productions, thanks in part to our relative freedom from Covid restrictions, Dornan said he saw more of it on the horizon.

“I have a feeling I’ll be back again considering how many things are shooting in Australia now,” he said.

“It’s been an incredible place to be considering how Covid-free it is here, particularly in South Australia. There’s the odd restriction, and you’re still signing in on the app before you go into the shops, but the reality is, there are no cases in the whole of South Australia and it feels like a different world to the UK, where we live. It just feels like a different planet.

“It’s very freeing and incredible to be in one of the two countries – yourselves and New Zealand – that have that been experiencing Covid differently to the rest of the world. It’s been a coup to get to spend five-and-a-half months here.”

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