Once Upon A Time Q&A: Jamie Dornan Talks The Return Of Sheriff Graham

Jamie Dornan on the red carpet (left) and as Sheriff Graham (right) Jamie Dornan on the red carpet (left) and as Sheriff Graham (right)

The untimely death of Jamie Dornan’s Sheriff Graham in Season 1 of ABC’s “Once Upon A Time” created a massive stir among fans of the show, heartbroken over his exit. But, the Irish actor is back again in this Sunday’s episode of the fairytale drama.

Jamie, who followed up his “Once” role by joining Gillian Anderson in a crime-themed show for the UK’s BBC 2 – “The Fall” – managed to pop back to Vancouver to film an appearance in the “OUAT” Season 1 finale as his alter ego, The Huntsman. This time around though, he’s back with his leather jacket and gun as Sheriff Graham, in an origins story of sorts for the town of Storybrooke.

The episode will look at Storybrooke in the first days of the curse, which happened to take place around the time Emma Swann (Jennifer Morrison) was born in the 1980s. And on Wednesday, in an interview with AccessHollywood.com, the Irish actor said to expect some thematic blasts from the past – just no legwarmers. But first, Access had to ask how he feels about the drama his original “OUAT” exit created.

AccessHollywood.com: How satisfying is it to you that Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis, the show’s executive producers, are still bombarded with hate mail or hate Tweets from fans over killing off Sheriff Graham?

Jamie: Look, I guess I essentially see that as a compliment, but I think people can be pretty hairy, like from what those boys tell me. I don’t want to induce any sort of like hatred or anything and I don’t want those guys to be massively under fire from, you know, crazy fans because of what they did. But it wasn’t solely their choice. But I guess, I should essentially take it as a compliment that people care that much. A bit of hate mail’s OK (laughs), but the death threats – that’s too much.

Access: You already got to come back on the show once, but this time you get to come back as Sheriff Graham in Storybrooke. Tell us everything you possibly can about how we’re going to find you!

Jamie: It’s Day 1 of the curse, so it’s before anything was seen, in terms of in Storybrooke in Season 1 and we see early on Graham’s relationship with Regina and how that plays out. Basically we see her control from the very start of it, which is really quite interesting. Even watching it back, you just feel – I think you sort of always feel sorry for Graham, but I feel more sorry for him from the start because you see how controlled he is right from Day 1 and there’s really not a lot he can do.

Access: Will we see a different look to Graham?

Jamie: I have shorter hair going on which is not something that was maybe planned, but… it was exciting for me [to return]. I always felt that if I was going to come back in any form, it would be as The Huntsman in some kind of flashback scene, but it was a joy also, because those furs are pretty heavy as a Huntsman and it’s quite exhausting running around in all that sort of caper. So it was nice to just get the trusty jacket back on and have my gun, and… have a little bit more to do story wise. Although it was pretty crucial what I did in the Season finale of 1, it’s nice to get my teeth into a little bit more in this one.

Access: Will we sort of see some of the bad things that your character had to start doing under the direction of Evil Regina?

Jamie: Yeah, you see a bit of that going on…. the manipulation from the start, and the control. I can’t say a huge amount, but there’s definitely ways and means that she has of controlling me and getting what she wants. Basically, he’s her puppet and he’s so clueless and helpless, which is sad. I think you feel for him.

Access: At the same time, she kind of dug him romantically toward the end. Are there hints at that?

Jamie: We see glimpses of that side of their relationship. She’s not purely using him to get what she wants in the run of the town… I think there’s also ways in which she uses him to benefit her romantic side (laughs).

Access: So I hear this takes place in the 1980s.

Jamie: That’s kind of right, yeah. So it’s the first day of the curse. It’s just before Jen’s character, Emma is sort of born, so it’s 28 years prior to present day, so the ‘80s, which was a decade I happened to be born and it was quite fun to be playing around in the ‘80s.

Access: Will there be any ridiculously colored leather? Or use of ‘80s slang?

Jamie: There’s hints here and there. Adam and Eddie are big fans of different generations and they’re into all kinds of stuff from the ‘80s so there’s things dropped in there – music references and the like that will make sure the audience knows it’s the ‘80s, but you can’t go too crazy over the top. There’s a story to tell and we don’t want people just lost going, ‘Wow! Look at his kicks!’ You’ve gotta keep it fairly straight.

Access: No legwarmers then, or spandex, or neon for you then?

Jamie: No, despite my request for all of those things. I’d like to say I was wearing leg warmers, just out of choice, underneath my slacks, but no, that didn’t even happen.

Access: Finally, do you expect to come back again to ‘OUAT,’ do you hope to come back? It’s always fun to see you on screen.

Jamie: That’s kind. Yeah, look, I don’t know anything, but I’m definitely open to coming back. I love everyone involved in the show so it feels like coming home every time I do. So I’m definitely open to it, yeah.

“Once Upon A Time” airs Sunday at 8/7c on ABC.

-- Jolie Lash

Copyright 2014 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.