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Tuesday 20 March 2018

Life lessons with Colin Farrell - Dublin actor talks family, marriage, and movies

Colin Farrell. Photo: Mike Windle / Contour by Getty Images
Colin Farrell. Photo: Mike Windle / Contour by Getty Images
Colin Farrell arrives at a film premiere with his family: Catherine, Eamon and Claudine and his mother Rita (far right).

Patricia Danaher

Having auditioned unsuccessfully for a place in Boyzone and having dropped out of the Gaiety School of Acting, Colin Farrell first hit our screens in 1996 with a role in BBC drama Ballykissangel. From Castleknock in Dublin, he moved to Los Angeles where he made waves in the industry with his role in Joel Schumacher's 2000 war drama Tigerland.

Two years later, the same director gave him his first lead role in Phone Booth. After receiving a critical panning for 2004's Alexander, in 2009, he won a Golden Globe for best actor for his part in black comedy In Bruges. With a reputation as a Hollywood wildman, Farrell was linked to big-name stars including Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. In 2003, model Kim Bordenave gave birth to his son, James. He had a second son, Henry, in 2009 after a relationship with Polish actress Alicja Bachleda, his co-star in Neil Jordan's fantasy movie Ondine. Now 39, Farrell has been sober for nine years and is currently single.

We've all wrestled with loneliness and how to embark on the path of finding somebody to share your life. And the fear of that, and the fear of disappointment, and the fear of rejection.

Marriage is one of the great options we have as human beings. To commit the act of good faith and trust in both ourselves and the person that's represented by sharing your life with someone. The marriage-equality referendum is a huge turning point in the history of our country.

I love doing yoga. It's so much fun. I hate treadmills and I hate lifting weights and all that, but my mind really enjoys yoga. My body enjoys it.

I just had to go on a diet and that was hard. I had to cut down on the calories for eight weeks. The definition of hard is funny when you turn on the news, but I was pissed off and grumpy and really starving, really hungry for eight weeks, but at the end, it was all fine and that was it.

I don't see how the life of a movie star is valued more highly than someone who sweeps the streets in the morning. I've never been able to see how a person's worth could be judged by what they do. I could see how part of a person's worth could be judged by how they apply themselves to the thing that they do.

I only really deal with 'fame' a couple of times a year. At a film festival or a première or something, but outside of that, hardly at all. I feel like I have my own version of understanding of the mechanisms of fame and what the negatives are and what the positives can be.

There can be an ugliness to fame and it can inspire desperation in people. I've seen photographers knock more mature women on the ground. I've seen photographers back themselves into prams with six-month-old infants. It's mental.

There are so many elements of good fortune, whether it's birth or opportunity. There go I - but for the grace of either God or evolution or chance - in so many other directions.

Working in Los Angeles for the last five-and-a-half months was great. To be going home to my own bed, then doing the school run, and figuring out the nannies and all that. I had a lot of help from my sisters and my mother.

We're a very close family. My brother and my father are at home in Dublin and my two sisters, my stepfather, my brother-in-law, my niece and my two children are all in Los Angeles. I have so much family here.

My mother married an American man in my back garden two-and-a-half years ago. My sister has a fiancé here and my older sister's married and has a child. I was the conduit through which we were all introduced to Los Angeles, but everyone's got their own lives here. It's really cool.

The work is more often than not a reflection of where you are in your life when you choose these roles. So one would hope that, with maturity, your taste also matures and your desires align themselves with the work.

True Detective is bigger than any of the three previous films I've done. I heard they were making a second series of True Detective and the first one was so good. I didn't want to suffer the slings and arrows of literally outrageous fortune and quietly say 'no' because I'm afraid of being judged or of it not being as strong as the first year.

The Lobster is such an odd film. I don't know that I've ever seen anything like The Lobster. I really love it and I'm glad to be anywhere near it. The director has such a singular vision and almost a new cinematic language, which is a hard thing to do after 100 years of cinema.

One thing I learned late is that if the work is not extraordinary on the page, it won't be on the screen either. No matter how good the cinematographer or how ingenious the director or even the most gifted cast in the world. When I look at the writing of Martin McDonagh or Neil Jordan, I feel really blessed to be aligned with these creators over the last few years.

Colin Farrell stars in the second series of 'True Detective', which begins on Sky Atlantic on Monday. 'The Lobster' will be in cinemas in October.

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