'Fifty Shades' star Dornan takes on WWII role in 'Anthropoid'

Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:15am EDT
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KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic (Reuters) - Fresh from his "Fifty Shades of Grey" fame, Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan takes on the role of a real-life Czech soldier in "Anthropoid" based on the true story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, one of the main architects of the Holocaust.

The movie, set for release next year, sees Dornan play Jan Kubis, who with fellow soldier Jozef Gabcik, was sent to kill Heydrich in Prague during World War II in "Operation Anthropoid". Irish actor Cillian Murphy plays Gabcik.

The movie will be filmed in the coming weeks in the Czech Republic. On Thursday, Dornan, director Sean Ellis and actress Anna Geislerova held a news conference about it at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the country.

"The first I learned of 'Operation Anthropoid' was when I read the script. I was blown away by it," Dornan told reporters. "Playing a real person -- I think as an actor you are desperate to do that when you can if it's a story that moves you."

High-ranking Nazi Heydrich was killed in 1942 and his assassination kicked off brutal reprisals in the country. Dornan said he thought the assassination was the right thing to do.

"People are going to look at it from both sides. Ultimately I think it sent a very strong message to show that the Czech people were up for a fight and weren't willing to be treated in that way," Dornan said.

"I think if I was in that position myself, I probably would have done the same thing. I have a strong understanding of why people see it the other way based on events afterwards. But for me, ultimately they had to do what they had to do."

(Reporting By Reuters Television in Karlovy Vary; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Actor Jamie Dornan arrives for the screening of the movie 'Fifty Shades of Grey' at the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 11, 2015. REUTERS/Stefanie Loos