Two long weeks in compulsory quarantine in a Sydney hotel room made Hollywood star Jamie Dornan discover her new big obsession.
Accompanied by his family, the British actor arrived in Australia in March to film the upcoming series of thrillers Stan. The tourist.
But the stint in quarantine, exhausting for any international arrival, led Dornan to an unexpected and joyful discovery: Tim Tams.
“They loaded our accommodation with Tim Tams and I’ve never had them before,” Dornan told news.com.au from his temporary home in Adelaide, where he filmed.
“I had a pack and a half the other day, just on my own, watching stuff on Netflix one night while the family was away. A packet of originals and half a packet of caramels. It was pretty brutal, ”he laughed.
Tim Tams aren’t the only part of Australian life the Fifty shades of Grey and The fall the actor has grown to love during his months in South Australia so far.
An actor discovers the beauty of Kangaroo Island
During a recent hiatus to filming in the outback, Dornan and his musician wife Amelia Warner and their three daughters were able to discover another local gem – Kangaroo Island, the spectacular island off the south coast of Australia that is in full revival since the bushfires of 2019.
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 on the island as best it can be. The food was great and there were beautiful views of the water and kangaroos running around everywhere.
“They had baby Joey there and the kids were able to feed him milk every night. Our middle child hasn’t stopped talking about this Joey since; she’s just obsessed with it. It was amazing for the kids.
The family admired the abundant wildlife and breathtaking scenery of Kangaroo Island, and understood how the island was recovering from a bushfire disaster so hellish, that before Covid-19 at least, it was anything anyone could talk about.
“It’s such a beautiful place and the coastline is insane,” Dornan said.
“We knew there were fires here, but not to what extent and where or in what region, and you could see the fire damage. But they were telling us that the crops and grass were growing back faster than they expected, which was positive to hear.
“I think sometimes when something awful like that happens it rejuvenates a place in a way, like they’re all together to come back to what it was. People in the community really feel like they are ready to fight to get people back there. And the round trip ferry was crowded so it’s a good sign that people are coming and going.
Stan’s thriller set in the outback of South Australia
When he was not playing tourist on Kangaroo Island, Dornan played the title of the stranger in The tourist, a six-part action thriller for BBC One / HBO Max / Stan, written by duo Harry and Jack Williams (Chip bag, Missing).
Shot in South Australia and with Hugo Weaving and Dumplin ‘ actress 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 ends up in the Australian outback under some pretty bizarre circumstances and everything is revealed to the public over a period of time as to why he’s there and who he is, ”the actor said.
“It has some insane twists like I’ve never read before, so it’s hard to talk about it in depth without setting foot in it.”
The series was mostly shot in the hinterland, with cast and crew based in Port Augusta and Quorn – a small town in the Flinders Ranges that was nothing like what Belfast-born Dornan had experienced before. .
“It’s a tough environment to film so regularly for so long, but I loved it,” he said.
“I stayed at this great place called the Great Northern Lodge, another family business, run by a woman called Wendy and her daughter Sally, who cooked us home cooked food every night when we walked in regardless the hour we finished, and it was lovely.
“My take-away point was how dark it is out there. The stars are amazing because there is no such thing as light pollution. And if you go out with the team and throw pints after work, you walk out of the pub and it’s pitch black – there’s no street lights. It’s a bit strange. But it is amazing.
He also became a big fan of Adelaide.
“It’s the easiest place we’ve ever lived, I think,” he said.
“There is nothing that takes more than 20 minutes. You can be a 45 minute drive from the front door and be in a place like Willunga, and usually from a downtown area you have to drive for hours and hours to get to a place like this.
Australia is now a prime location for film productions
Before The tourist, Dornan had only spent a week or so in Australia, over a decade ago: Work had never brought him here, and the in-demand actor’s relentless schedule left little time for a vacation in such distant lands.
But with Australia now an extremely coveted location for international film productions, in part thanks to our relative freedom from Covid restrictions, Dornan said he sees more on the horizon.
“I have a feeling that I will be back given how many things are going on in Australia right now,” he said.
“It has been an amazing place to consider how Covid-free he is here, especially in South Australia. There is a weird restriction, and you always log into the app before entering stores, but the reality is that there are no cases in all of South Australia and it feels like a world different from UK where we live. It just feels like we’re on another planet.
“It’s very liberating and amazing to be in one of two countries – yourselves and New Zealand – that have experienced Covid differently from the rest of the world. It was a blow to have spent five and a half months here.