Holywood-born hunk Jamie Dornan has had one eventful year.
He’s tied the knot, become a dad for the first time, and finished filming what is tipped to be next year’s movie blockbuster, Fifty Shades of Grey.
And of course, there was The Fall.
“You know, when I first auditioned for it, I was so relieved,” the actor, 32, told Sunday Life.
“The first thing I said to Allan [Cubitt] was, this is so lovely to read something set in this part of the world that doesn’t involve the Troubles directly or sectarianism, or any of those crap things that hold this country back.
“Not that it’s some kind of love story or altogether positive, but it’s just refreshing that it wasn’t about that. And you know, why not set it here?
“There’s no definitive need for it to be set in Belfast, but it’s a great backdrop, and it’s been said so many times — Belfast is like a character in the show. And I totally agree with that.
“Am I proud? Yeah, I’m definitely proud.”
And so he should be.
Not only is the award-winning Belfast-based drama the BBC’s most successful in over two decades — it also catapulted the former underwear model to huge acting fame.
So when it came to taking on the killer role for a second time, it was never in doubt — despite his hectic showbiz schedule.
Speaking to Sunday Life on set of the new series of The Fall, Jamie said: “There’s been a bit of juggling around but my goal has always been to be here.
“I’ve had about a week off in a year, and I think I’ve aged rapidly, but that’s fine!”
The star joined his fellow cast members, including The X-Files star Gillian Anderson, on the site of the former Massereene army barracks in Antrim, where the cast and crew have been filming top-secret scenes for the hotly anticipated second series.
Fans of the show, which returned to RTE on Sunday night andis back on BBC 2 this Thursday night will see Jamie’s character — deranged grief counsellor turned serial killer Paul Spector — return to the streets of Belfast where he stalked and killed his victims.
Viewers of the first series will remember how the killer fled to Scotland with wife Sally-Ann, played by actress Bronagh Waugh, and two young children, as hard-nosed DSI Gibson closed in on the psychopath.
The married dad — who wed singer Amelia Warner last year — previously admitted that playing the hate-filled character, who strangled and tied up his victims, had “scarred” him.
But he told Sunday Life: “I’m a bit more comfortable playing him this time around — which is disturbing enough in itself — but I find myself very eager to become him again.
“I like playing characters who are fractured, broken. I find that more relatable for some reason.”
“I don’t feel like I’m like that in my own nature, there’s just something that you can grab a hold of if people have a darkness in them — I enjoy that.”
But there is one side of the psychotic multiple murderer that the star says that he has struggled with this time around.
“I think it’s that little bit harder for me now that I have experienced some kind of paternal relationship,” said Jamie, whose baby daughter will turn one this month.
“I think that’s what makes it so harrowing on screen, it’s the proximity in which he acts within his family world and his professional world and what he gets off on, the killing, the preparation for the kill, and the actual act and the aftermath.
“And seeing them together like that is what I think the genius of the show.”
He added: “I think Allan [Cubitt] has said this before, that he’s incapable of love, and he doesn’t love his children.
“But I will argue with the writer and the creator on that.
“I think he does show an element of love and I think that’s essential to tell a story and essential to understand that side of him. I do think he loves his kids and I do think to a point he loves his wife.
“I’m not putting him up for any father of the year awards or anything, but I do think that there’s a care there.”
Jamie, who will play kinky millionaire Christian Grey in the film adaption of Fifty Shades of Grey next year, said viewers can expect the series to be as dark and as chilling as before.
“The character hasn’t changed,” he says. “We follow on the story, not very long after we finished the first one so I approach it in the same way and have the head space in the same way, I don’t think it’s any darker than the first series.”
And the one question on everyone’s lips — will the hunted come face to face with his hunter, DSI Stella Gibson?
“I had one fleeting moment with her in the first series, and I can’t really say too much more about how many moments I have with her in the second series, but it’s a strange thing.
“It’s the classic cat-and -mouse thing, there are comparisons. They talk about that in the phone call at the end of the last series. Spector thinks he’d like Gibson and I think there’s something to be said in that, I think that’s very interesting. And I’ve carried that with me.”
With producers promising explosive scenes as time appears to run out for Spector, it’s not clear just how long the 32-year-old has left as the sadistic sexual predator.
However, Dornan believes that the thrilling crime drama could go on for a third series — with or without him.
“I’m not sure I’ll be involved in it for story reasons — I don’t know what happens at the end really.”