Colin Farrell turns down millions to spend time with his kids James and Henry
Actor Colin Farrell turned down a multi-million-euro film role so he could spend more time with his children, according to emails leaked from Sony Motion Pictures.
The Dubliner opted against taking a role alongside Sasha Baron Cohen in the comedy 'Grimsby' despite being keenly pursued by studio executives.
"He would have had no time at all with his kids and they are the most important thing in the world to him," Farrell's manager Ilene Feldman wrote while the father-of-two was being pursued by the studio.
The emails were among 200,000 internal Sony Pictures Entertainment documents and emails published this week on the WikiLeaks website.
The material is believed to have been accessed by hackers with links to North Korea last year.
Sony executives placed Farrell on top of an 'A List' of actors they wanted for one of the lead roles in the movie.
He was listed ahead of Ewan McGregor, Jude Law, Michael Fassbender and Christian Bale, despite one executive questioning Farrell's box office track record.
A 'B List' for the role included James McAvoy, Robert Pattinson, Gerard Butler, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant and another Irish actor, 'Fifty Shades of Grey' star Jamie Dornan.
Brad Pitt was also linked to the movie in the emails, but the part eventually went to English actor Mark Strong.
The movie, due for release next year, is a comedy about a British black ops spy whose brother is a football hooligan, played by Baron Cohen.
What Farrell stood to earn if he had accepted the role is unclear. But another actor who was on the 'A List', Australian Eric Bana, wanted $2.5m (€2.3m).
In one of the leaked emails, Doug Belgrad, the president of Sony subsidiary Columbia Pictures, said: "We'd have to work hard to get Colin for a price that fits the budget."
After screen tests by Farrell, Bana and English actor Clive Owen in March last year, Belgrad lauded Farrell.
"Colin was by far the funniest. He was so committed," Mr Belgrad wrote.
"Can he do the accent? Not sure. But, as of tonight, he would be my choice."
In an other email, Mr Belgrad said: "Would suck if we don't get him. This is a hard part to cast and it matters a lot."
According to email exchanges, Farrell read a script for the movie on a flight from Los Angeles to Dublin.
It is clear that movie executives were keen for him to take the role and there appears to have been considerable contact with Farrell and his representatives.
At one point Farrell emailed Amy Pascal, the then chairperson of the Motion Pictures Group at Sony Pictures Entertainment, saying he would love to take part in a further reading but was "heading out of town".
Ms Pascal later emailed colleagues simply stating: "Let's get Colin to do 'Grimsby'."
However, Farrell's manager Ilene Feldman wrote back: "He is reading it on the plane to Ireland tonight. He is very concerned about the dates because he will not be seeing his kids for two months starting today, so the thought of literally having no time to spend with them after this film is weighing heavily on him."
In another email, she said Farrell was also concerned he would not have adequate time to prepare for the role and that he needed to lose weight he gained for the filming of science fiction romance 'The Lobster', which is competing at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Farrell has often spoken affectionately about his sons, James (12), whose mother is American model Kim Bordenave, and Henry (5), born during his relationship with Polish actress Alicja Bachleda-Curus.
James has a neuro-genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome and Farrell has been vocal in calling for more special needs facilities in Ireland.