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Jamie Dornan says he knew ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ movies would come with ‘baggage’

By Alli Rosenbloom

(CNN) — Jamie Dornan knew what he was getting tangled up with when he took on the role of Christian Grey in the spicy “Fifty Shades of Grey” franchise films – and we’re not talking about bedsheets.

During an appearance on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast last week, Dornan admitted that his decision to star in the erotic thriller “wasn’t an instant yes” because he knew that he’d catch some heat from critics.

“I knew that it came with a lot of baggage,” Dornan said. “The reality was it was going to make a ton of money and fans were going to love it, and the critics were going to despise it because that’s exactly what happened with the books. And that’s what we were making.”

Dornan starred in 2015’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” alongside Dakota Johnson and went on to appear in the two sequels, “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed.” The movie trilogy is based on the book series by author E.L. James, who released the original three books of the same name between 2011 and 2012.

Initially, the “Tourist” star lost out on the role to “Sons of Anarchy” actor Charlie Hunnam, which he said came with “a bit of relief because I was like, that guy’s going to get wrecked here.”

“And then suddenly there I was but with way less time to make a decision,” Dornan said. “I got cast five weeks before we started shooting. My wife was 35 weeks pregnant, we had a lot of massive decisions to make very quickly. It was a crazy time when I think about it.”

Despite the initial trepidation, Dornan ultimately embraced the fandom.

“We were staying very truthful to the books, so we knew what that was going to be, but I think movies that are made for the fans, that the fans love, can only be seen as a success,” he said.

The movies were certainly a success, even if the critics panned them.

When “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the first film in the franchise, premiered in 2015, it broke box office records during its three-day opening weekend when it grossed $81.6 million and became the biggest opening ever for a film released on the combined Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day weekend.

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