JAMIE Dornan has admitted that he suffers from nightmares after playing a serial killer in chilling drama The Fall.
Dornan (32) has won plaudits for his portrayal of twisted Paul Spector in the Belfast-set thriller, which is now in its second season.
But the Co Down man, who has an 11-month-old daughter with singer-songwriter wife Amelia Warner, says he finds it hard to shake off the character when the cameras stop.
"It is harder now that I've experienced a paternal relationship. You can't fail to be scarred by inhabiting someone like Spector. Occasionally, I have not altogether pleasant dreams and I carry elements of him with me.
Disturbing "In a worrying way, I'm more comfortable playing him now, which is disturbing. But to play any character you have to understand why they do something, not to have sympathy, but to make sense of it," he told TV Times.
The former Calvin Klein model, from Holywood, Co Down, said that his role in the hit series - a joint RTE and BBC production which also stars Gillian Anderson as DI Stella Gibson - was the turning point in his career.
"It's totally transformed my professional horizons and my life. Actors are always at that precipice of giving up, but a job like The Fall changes things," he said.
Dornan is hoping to win over cinema audiences next year with his role in the adaptation of EL James's best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.