A/V Room









InterMission - A good days' work and a few pints down the pub after you've finished, there's nothing like it!

Feature by: Jack Foley

COLIN Farrell’s 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 Cowley’s 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 it’s still my one and only home - is great, but being there and making a movie like this was just brilliant.

"A good days’ work and a few pints down the pub after you’ve finished, there’s nothing like it," he adds.

Farrell plays small-time petty criminal Lehiff (Farrell), who is planning a bank robbery with the help of Cillian Murphy’s love-struck supermarket worker, as a way of getting rich quick, and exacting some revenge on the bank manager who has eloped with Murphy’s ex-girlfriend.

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 I’ve played - whether it’s 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.

"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, but he’s the bluntest."

So, did Farrell base his performance on anyone in particular?

"Oh, I’ve 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.

"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."

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 wouldn’t 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.

"John’s 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.

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 country?

"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 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 f*****g 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 f****g brain surgery and I know it’s 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 can’t help but wish him the best of luck.

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