This interview was conducted in June 2023, before the start of the SAG-AFTRA strike.
The high-octane spy thriller Heart of Stone, written by Greg Rucka and directed by Tom Harper, is coming exclusively to Netflix this August. Leading an all-star cast is Gal Gadot, who also produces the film, as Rachel Stone, an intelligence operative leading an international mission to prevent a pivotal device, known as the Heart, from falling into the wrong hands. Among Stone's team is Parker, played by Jamie Dornan, a seasoned veteran in the intelligence community who forms a close rapport with Stone as they navigate the shadowy world of espionage filled with untrustworthy figures.
In an exclusive interview with CBR conducted before the start of the SAG-AFTRA strike, Heart of Stone star Jamie Dornan shared how he captures the physicality required of the role, explained how he approaches the clandestine stakes of the film, and teased his on-screen dynamic with Gal Gadot.
CBR: This is the most physically intense performance I've ever seen you do. I don't remember this many stunts in Belfast. How was it capturing that side of your performance?
Jamie Dornan: I loved it! It was very much there on the page. You're reading it knowing that you're going to have to get yourself there physically and stamina-wise. You know you're going to have long days of throwing heavier men than you around a cable car and the joys of, even if you know it's simulated, getting punched in the face, headbutted, kicked, and thrown around.
All of that makes for a good time if you're into that sort of thing, and I am, I'm all for it. I've always enjoyed stunt work when I've done it. Obviously, in Belfast, not a great deal of it. I've done plenty of war dramas where there's a fair amount of stunt stuff, but not to this extreme. While I'm still able to do it, I love doing it, yeah.
To put it mildly, Parker is a very complex character. How did you want to carry yourself in scenes and approach the character to capture that complexity?
I think he has to feel really capable [and] astute and good at his job. He needed to come across as someone they were looking up to in terms of being a leader and the most seasoned when it came to these missions, keeping everything watertight and doing things his way. I think you get a real sense of that in the opening mission of the film -- that opening 15 minutes that hopefully keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Without giving too much away, we see different layers coming off of him, and there's a different side of him. Hopefully, that is impactful, but it's different from how we viewed him at the beginning.
You share a lot of scenes with Gal Gadot while you're shooting in locations all over the world. How was it having her as a scene partner?
It's great! She's so comfortable in this space and has done lots of movies like this. Gal is an easy person to be around. We bonded really quickly. She's got three daughters, and I've got three daughters who aren't exactly the same age but all within the same kind of age. She seems to approach it the same way I do, where you've done all the work and feel prepared so that when you step on set, you can have fun with it, feel relaxed, and find it.
She made it easy. They all did, the whole cast did, but very much led by Gal, her influence and comfort in this genre. Tom Harper, our brilliant director, very much sets the tone of having a good time and working hard, and we all did that.
Directed by Tom Harper, Heart of Stone premieres Aug. 11 on Netflix.