Feature by: Jack Foley
COLIN Farrells rise to stardom has been meteoric, to say
the least, but the opportunity of returning to Dublin to help
out a first-time director with a small-budget Irish comedy thriller
was simply too good to miss for the Irish star.
The 27-year-old, former Ballykiss Angel actor, could think of
nothing better than lending his support, and persona, to first-time
movie director, John Cowleys cracking thriller, as well
as the chance to savour some life away from the glamour and glitz
of Hollywood for a change.
"Being back in Dublin was f*****g great," he recalls,
in typically foul-mouthed fashion. "Very, very special. Being
back there anytime - and its still my one and only home
- is great, but being there and making a movie like this was just
"A good days work and a few pints down the pub after
youve finished, theres nothing like it," he adds.
Farrell plays small-time petty criminal Lehiff (Farrell), who
is planning a bank robbery with the help of Cillian Murphys
love-struck supermarket worker, as a way of getting rich quick,
and exacting some revenge on the bank manager who has eloped with
But far from being a sympathetic criminal, Lehiff is a complete
scumbag, the type of character who, according to Farrell
himself, would step over his mother to get the next fix
or to get the next tenner.
So what attracted the actor to the role, which marks something
of a change of pace from his Hollywood alter-egos.
"Lehiff just jumped out at me," he explains. "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 Ive played - whether its in The Recruit,
Tigerland, or 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.
"Hes a scumbag, he really is. A petty criminal who
thinks his mind is a lot faster and more toned than it actually
is. Hes not the sharpest tool in the shed, thats for
sure, but hes the bluntest."
So, did Farrell base his performance on anyone in particular?
"Oh, Ive met fellas like him," he replies, candidly.
"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.
"Im not comparing my performance to it at all, but
hes 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 hed
still come at you."
Yet as fond of his character as Farrell remains, he is also full
of credit for the rest of his cast, without whom the movie wouldnt
function as well as it does.
The ensemble includes the aforementioned Cillian Murphy (of
28 Days Later fame), as well as Kelly MacDonald (Trainspotting),
and Colm Meaney, and marks something of a casting coup for Cowley,
for whom Farrell has nothing but admiration.
"Johns a great, great director and a great man. I
knew he had been very successful in the theatre but I hadnt
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.
With Intermission behind him, however, thoughts turn to the future,
and whether his involvement in such a small, personal project
signals the start of more projects based in and around his home
"Oh yeah, but I have to be selfish," he replies, with
the same refreshing honesty that is reserved for all of his answers.
"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 Im going through
and not being on the outside looking in, I still feel very much
like Im in my infancy. You know, I dont feel like
a big name, I really dont, I dont feel like a big
"I feel neither the pressure nor the grandeur of my situation,
you know. Im still trying to find my feet as a film actor,
Im still trying to figure out what it is and I know it aint
f****g brain surgery and I know its never going to change
the f*****g world but it confuses me and it keeps me awake at
night, acting does, it comes between me and my sleep a lot."
With that in mind, we should raise a jar of the black stuff to
the jovial Irish fella and wish him all the best for the future.
For, as confused as he may sound, or as rebellious as the tabloids
may paint him, it is clear from spending time in his company that
he is passionate about his craft and looks set to be around for
a very long time. You cant help but wish him the best of