The Recruit - Colin Farrell Q&A

Compiled by Jack Foley

FORMER Ballykissangel star, Colin Farrell, has enjoyed a fairly meteoric rise onto the Hollywood A-list, appearing alongside the illustrious likes of Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and, now, Al Pacino. However, his honest approach and outspoken nature have earned him something of a reputation as a hellraiser in the popular press. Speaking at London’s Dorchester Hotel, he discussed some of the trappings of success, as well as the pleasure of working with Al Pacino…

Q. In the production notes, you say that the interesting thing, you found, about Al Pacino is that he is ‘a good laugh’, can you elaborate.
A. Well, I thought he would be quite serious, and he was; he was serious about the work and he’s focussed (I’ve never seen focus like it), and has a very acute passion for what he does, but he was such a funny bastard as well, wasn’t he [says turning to Donaldson]?
And I mean that in the nicest possible way. But he really has a quirky sense of humour, he’s a quirky little fella. He’d come out in the morning and look at me and say, [growls], ‘I want to rip your head off’. Little things like that, you know, he was always mucking around and always up for a laugh, while at the same time taking it really, really seriously.
We put so much work in, trying to better the script every day as well (it was a little bit of a work in progress), but he was so smart and so intelligent and all that kind of stuff, but he was just really good company to be around.

Q. Do you ever regret saying some of the things that you are quoted as saying.
A. If I think it, it passes pretty quick. You know, I could think, ‘what the fuck…’ again, my mouth… And then it sort of passes. I go, ‘you know what? Who gives… who cares..?’ And if somebody does, then that’s their prerogative and fine.
Opinions change all the time, people change, and I’m just a 26-year-old man trying to find my way in the world, and I have opinions on certain things…
The thing with print is that it’s difficult, because when I talk, I have a certain way of expressing myself, and when you read it in print, it can come across very different. If I start now mannering myself, and start worrying about everything I say, and trying to please everyone and fit in with some idea about me, I’m screwed, I will lose myself really fast in all this madness.
I’m not looking for shock tactics, I just want to keep spilling stuff out of my mouth off the top of my head.

Q. Your last three movies have gone straight to number one. Before that, you were burdened with the expectation of being the next big thing. Did you feel any pressure? Did you know that Minority Report was going to be a banker?
A. I know Minority Report was a banker, yeah, because it was such a double hitter with Cruise and Spielberg. But you know, I knew it was going to be a big hit, but I also knew that it had nothing to do with me. Let's chalk that down to those other two names. No one came to see Minority Report because Colin Farrell was in it.
But at the same time, I live in the real world, and I know that when you've had the luck that I've had, particularly over the last three and a half years, and these companies are giving me these large sums of money, it should be justified in Box Office return. So without feeling the pressure to be what various people have said I'm gonna be, what I should be, I feel a very self-aware pressure that there should be a return if I'm going to get that stuff. So it was nice to be in something that did decent in the States.

Q. You give the impression that success hasn't changed you, how easy is that to cope with? And how does your attitude go down with some of your more illustrious co-stars? You don't give the impression of brown-nosing anyone...
A. Roger [aside again]: That's what they like about him, to be honest. It's the fact that what he says is what he means and he doesn't brown-nose. People respond to that.
A. I just don't see why I should brown-nose anyone. I don't think I've changed in the last few years. I mean I've changed, yes, but not as a result of the position I've found myself in all of a sudden.
It's much more simple than I'm given credit for. It shows you, actually, what has happened to some people in my position, and it's kind of a statement on the business, and some people in the business, in Hollywood, that I get fucking kudos for being decent and down to earth and respecting people. What does that say about... you know what I mean?
I shouldn't get kudos for it, you don't get kudos for it. It's just the way I was brought up. I have a good family and I have great friends, and I respect that a lot. I had a great laugh with Bruce Willis and everyone I've worked with.
But you know, I work as hard as I can, and they know I work as hard as I can, and he [Al] worked as hard as he can, and yet we have to be able to have a laugh through it as well. There's a time and a place for everything, of course.

Q. You're a proud Irishman working in Hollywood. Would you like to go back to Ireland and work at some point?
A. Yes, I'd love to. I'm following a path now in which everything seems to be pre-ordained for me. I'm just tripping over each brick on the road that I'm on. That took me back to Dublin last year, last August, to do Intermission, and I know it'll take me back again.
So yes, I would love to bring some work, some productions to Dublin and to Ireland. The Irish film industry is not doing good at the moment and it does need a kick-start. Pierce Brosnan's been very good and Aidan Quinn's gone back and done some work, but at some stage, when I grow up, then yes.

Q. In Intermission, we are going to see you perform as a popular music artist. Is this the next stage of your career?
A. I can't play an instrument, I'm fairly tone deaf, and they wouldn't even have me in Boyzone...
Q. So what about this version of I Fought the Law?
A. Ah yes, well I screamed it in Dublin last week, in a studio, for a backing track, and I think they were toying with the idea of putting it in at the end of the film. But it probably won't even make it. It was worth a try, though.

Q. You've mentioned how important your friends and family are to you in keeping your feet on the ground. Is it safe to assume that you’re a mummy's boy?
A. Yeah, a total mummy's boy! She's my best pal in the world. She's an amazing woman. Everything I am, and hope to be, I have to thank her. And my Dad I get on alright with.
In respect to keeping my feet on the ground, though, they're probably no more important than my brother and my sisters, you know, and maybe even my friends. But they're both important things in my life and they always are and always have been and that won't change.

Q. What do you think about the press coverage of your life and the fact that The Sun has now dubbed you the lusty leprechaun? And what's the strangest story you've read about yourself?
A. The lusty leprechaun? I love that. But the strangest? You read stuff and you wonder, where the fuck did they get that from? Where out of the sky did they pluck it?
Like I was driving along the freeway in Los Angeles the other day and I pulled in cos I saw a tow-truck had broken down, and I got under the tow truck and I fixed it. And there was oil all over my shirt, and I was on my way up to a house party in Malibu, and I went to the party and I had women all over me, because I had oil over me and I was a stud. [Pause] I couldn't fix a toaster. It's not even like I was there, you know?
And Gwyneth Paltrow dumped me, which I'm still getting over! She just wouldn't accept my approaches, even though I've never met her. You just read some things and go, that's bizarre, but it's gonna happen.

Q. Did Daredevil give you a hankering to do more light-hearted stuff?
A. I had great fun doing it. It was great just to check the old subtlety in at the door and talk about an over-baked performance. It was fun, lots of fun, but I have no master plan. But it would be nice to have a career that sort of mixes it up all the time.

Q. What’s the best bit of advice you’ve had?
A. Pacino said to me, if you're going to do big movies, if you're going to do an action movie, make sure that it's something that you like. Even in the big, commercial action movies, you can sometimes find in the writing characters that are interesting.

RELATED STORIES: Click here for a review of the movie...
Click here for a special feature on Colin Farrell...
Click here for a Q&A with Roger Donaldson...
Click here for the US reaction to the movie...

RELATED LINKS: Click here for The Recruit website...