Someone Almost Scared Jamie Dornan Out Of L.A.


Los Angeles, baby. While there are countless reasons to love the City of Angels (sunshine, great garage rock scene), there are just as many that have me convinced it's less viable as a permanent option (traffic, smog). All the same, apparently Fabio scared Jamie Dornan out of Los Angeles when they met in a gym, and that story doesn't totally work for me as an argument against residing in the city.

The Fifty Shades Darker actor appeared on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Tuesday, Jan. 31, ostensibly to promote the latest movie in the Fifty Shades series. However, he actually ended up segueing into an anecdote about joining a gym in an attempt to fit in. There, he came across none other than actor/model Fabio Lanzoni, who appeared on the front of hundreds of romance novels in the '80s and early '90s. Dornan revealed:

I joined this gym, Equinox, on Sunset. I signed up and I went in to train and the first person I see when I went up is your man, Fabio. He was there with all his hair and all that. He was wearing a very loose-fitting tank top. He was doing pull-ups and had a crowd around him... This was 12 years ago or something... He was doing enough to form a crowd. I didn't join the crowd. I just sort of went, 'Well maybe L.A.'s not for me.'

Call me a stickler, but this doesn't totally add up. I'm inferring that Dornan's point is that he's a super breezy, grounded Irish guy who isn't down with hero-worshipping male sex idols like the rest of the gym folk who were crowded round Fabio admiring his pull up skills. But there's a touch of irony here, because Dornan himself, two films into the Fifty Shades franchise, is basically a modern-day Fabio.

If we assume that the number of book sales reflects the number of people reading them beyond audiobooks (which are doing well at the moment), we can go ahead and guess that, over the past few years, the number of people who read novels in general is falling. But you know what the one exception to that trajectory is? Yep. Fifty Shades of Grey, which in 2012 became Britain's top bestselling book ever with 5.3 million copies in print and e-book form sold. If you're familiar with the book, you'll know there's no sexy male model on the front — just a series of objects.

Which means Jamie Dornan is the first person to bring the book's male romantic lead, Christian Grey, to life via the film adaptations. And since the Fifty Shades series is the romance novel success story of our era, this to me suggests he's basically the 2017 equivalent of that dude on the front of '80s romance novels with his shirt off cradling a quivering beauty to the safe harbor of his pecs. He's there as a sexual object to be worshipped by an overwhelmingly female audience.

Sure, it's a little tenuous, but admit it: this means Dornan could be compared to Fabio. I mean, don't get me wrong. I think Dornan is great and L.A. gym culture is probably fairly terrifying. But you've got to admit: there are a few parallels here. And if you're looking for a reason to justify not living in Los Angeles, its inadequate public transport system works just as well.