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InterMission - Colin Farrell Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley (from an interview with Martyn Palmer

Q. Why this role?
A. Lehiff just jumped out at me. I seemed to have done a lot of characters that are involved in a moral dilemma of sorts, you know, they go through a transformation, learn something about the hard facts of life and something about the hard facts of what it means to be a man I suppose, and they come out the other side.
The ones I’ve played - whether it’s in The Recruit, Tigerland, Phone Booth - they come out on the right side of things. They go on a journey, which is great. You try to get that as an actor and then you get to make whatever changes are necessary and hopefully make them subtly. But this character, Lehiff, I just saw him as black and white. Just a ****.

Q. So a bit of a contrast, playing a bad guy?
A
Yeah, he’s a scumbag, he really is. A petty criminal who thinks his mind is a lot faster and more toned than it actually is. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, that’s for sure, he’s the bluntest. But he thinks he’s ******* great and he has this scam that he’s organised in his head. But just a total scumbag.

Q. Did you base him on anybody or was it all there on the page?
A
Oh, I’ve met fellas like him. He’d step over his mother to get the next fix or to get the next tenner but really he was all there in the script It was like the same reason I did Daredevil, he was a baddie. I mean that was ridiculous baddie, he was over the top and the growling, and stuff, but good fun to play. Lehiff is the kind of character you could meet in a pub, get drunk with, have a few pints and make one poxy joke and the next thing you know there is a bottle sticking out of the side of your neck. I’m not comparing my performance to it at all, but he’s a bit like the Begbie character in Transpotting. Just a loose canon, off his head and always looking for a scrap. And he will take a beating as well. Cut his ear off and he’d still come at you.

Q. And worryingly, there are probably Lehiffs out there...
A
That’s right. This fella is based on reality. And you know, it was nice to use my own accent again I hadn’t played Irish in the three or four years that all this mad shit has been happening. And I knew all the cast and crew, all the drivers had driven me on Ballykissangel and it was great to be back in Dublin, shooting a movie, it was fucking brilliant. Very special. Getting picked up from me cottage in Irish Town to go to work, a few pints after work, it was ******* great. They did me a favour and condensed it all into one week so I could **** off, and I was starting work on At Home At the End of the World, but I wish I had been there for the whole thing, it was a great buzz.

Q. What about the rest of the cast? How were they?
A.
Kelly Macdonald, what a sweetheart and what an actor. She is a ****** cracker. Shirley Henderson, what a sweetheart and what an actor, just beautiful the pair of them.. And Cilllian, I’d wanted to work with Cillian for a couple of years and unfortunately the only scenes I did with him is where we are wearing ****** masks on our heads, you know (laughs).

Q. So I take it you all got along together?
A.
Oh yeah. It was just great to be part of it, the whole cast, you know. (David) Wilmot (Brian) O’Byrne, ******* dynamite. I got to work with (Colm) Meaney, the ******* old cantankerous **** that he is. Just great. Meaney’s so funny. He has some great lines in this. Absolute crackers. And Dierdre O’Kane (Noleen) is brilliant, she’s a stand up comedian and dead funny.

Q. It's quite an ensemble?
A.
It is. As you know Ireland is rich with talented actors, writers, directors, whatever but the movie industry hasn’t really taken off there. It’s struggled for years and I know there was a time when a lot of stuff was being made in Ireland and then the government got too cosy with it and they pulled back the tax incentives. And it’s a business, they are business people who make these movies and they decided not to take the movies to Ireland any more, or at least not so many. Even Waking Ned was shot on the Isle of Man so hopefully this will inject a bit of life into it now.

Q. What was John Crowley like to work with? It's his first time with a feature I believe?
A.
John’s as smart as a ******* whip. A great, great director and a great man. I knew he had been very successful in the theatre but I hadn’t seen any of his stuff but I had heard amazing things about him. And the best thing you can get from a director is someone who is specific, someone who knows what they want. Nobody should know your character as well as you do, but he knew that piece, that film, upside down inside out.

Q. And we even get to hear you sing, don't we?
A.
Did you hear that bastardisation of The Clash I do at the end? (laughs). ******* terrible! All these **** in Dublin thinking I was doing it to have a music career and I’m like ‘no, you stupid *******, it’s in character. I Fought The Law. Great laugh.

Q. Do you look for opportunities to take you back to work in Ireland?
A.
Yeah, but I have to be selfish. But Jesus, do I want to work in Ireland? Sure man, at some stage. Do I want to produce in Ireland down the road? Sure. Maybe one day would I like to direct something small? Something personal, in Ireland? Absolutely. Right now being on the inside of what I’m going through and not being on the outside looking in, I still feel very much like I’m in my infancy.
You know, I don’t feel like a big name, I really don’t, I don’t feel like a big ******* star. I feel neither the pressure nor the grandeur of my situation, you know. I’m still trying to find my feet as a film actor, I’m still trying to figure out what it is and I know it ain’t ****** brain surgery and I know it’s never going to change the ******* world but it confuses me and it keeps me awake at night, acting does, it comes between me and my sleep a lot.

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