COLIN Farrell has just finished the most harrowing shoot of his life. ‘I do always hate talking about finding this work hard because of my Catholic guilt,’ he confesses. ‘I know I am fortunate. But, honest to God, by the end of this film I was down. Part of that was to do with the beard. Some people love beards, for sure, but it really weighed me down. But mostly it was the tone of the film. It’s just bleak to its core. Yorgos thinks it’s a comedy, that this is his Anchorman. I beg to differ.’
The film in question is the brilliant and critically adored The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, which reunites the Irish actor with director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose absurdist black comedy The Lobster (2015) scored Farrell his second Golden Globe nomination — he won his first for In Bruges in 2009.
In it, an almost unrecognisably bearded and paunchy Farrell plays surgeon Steven Murphy, who forms an odd relationship with a youth called Martin (Barry Keoghan). Martin then intrudes on Steven’s home life with his wife (played by Nicole Kidman) and their two teenage children with shattering consequences.
‘By the end of two weeks I was just ready to be done with it,’ Farrell recalls of cleansing himself of the shoot that had him chain-smoking every night. ‘On the night we wrapped, I shaved the beard off. That helped some. Then, rather than just go straight home and have to pretend to be happy and upbeat to my kids, I took five or six days off. I just did hikes and nature and things like that.’
Time was when Farrell’s lost days would involve far less wholesome pursuits. His notoriously naughty Noughties were a tabloid blur of drink, drugs, sex tapes and celeb dating, when his nickname was the ‘Lusty Leprechaun’. But in 2005 he hit rehab and has, heroically, stuck it out.
These days chocolate is his new booze and, we can exclusively reveal, the 41-year-old’s favourite is a Cadbury’s Flake. Of course it is, saucy thing.
‘I do love cheap sweets — none of that posh stuff,’ he says. ‘I mean, I can get off on a 75 per cent Lindt with a bit of orange in there but a Cadbury’s Flake or a Curly Wurly is hard to beat.’
Say you’re sharing a hotel room with Colin Farrell and your non-heterosexual male friends will instantly go misty-eyed. Physically neat — as in yoga-bod trim in a fitted black T-shirt and with enviably thick hair — he’s got that killer combo of bad-boy animal sexuality and soulful dark eyes. He’s even a poet (see below).
And even sober he’s an open book. Recently he made Ellen blush with an anecdote about shaving his pubic hair. Is there a certain weird privacy that comes with oversharing?
‘I am a bit of a f***ing eejit at times but I am not a complete fool,’ he says. ‘I do understand this conversation we are having in this hotel room is destined to find a bigger audience but at the same time I genuinely find it hard not to just treat this as a conversation.’ He is, he insists, actually a ‘very private person’.
He’s about to shoot the new version of Dumbo, directed by Tim Burton. After that, he’s back home to LA to his two sons, aged 14 and eight, by different mothers, neither of whom he’s still in a relationship with.
‘I don’t go to the restaurants so I won’t see a camera,’ he says. ‘That to me is privacy. But when you meet a stranger sometimes it’s just OK to have a chat, you know?’
That’s Colin Farrell. The ideal fella to no longer share a pint with.
The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is in cinemas from Friday
Actor poet, for real
‘It’s a regular thing. In 15 years, the longest I have gone without writing anything was like three or four months,’ says Colin Farrell. ‘And when I realise that I have gone all that time without writing anything, it doesn’t feel good.
‘I last wrote a poem about two weeks ago. What was it about? I actually have no idea. I don’t really go back to them. I have a friend called Michael Gaither, who is an extraordinary writer and a beautiful poet but a very shy man. He is highly sensitive and I say to him all the time, “Send me some of your writing” but he can d*** around with a poem for, like, six months and it is never finished. I just share mine.’
Farrell did, however, share the sweet love poem he wrote for Robert Downey Jr at the 2011 Scream Awards. Check it out:
Freaky Farrell: Colin loves a weird role
The Lobster (2015)
Farrell puts his worst moustache forward in this seductively dystopian satire. His character must find a romantic partner in 45 days, or else transform into a beast.
The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus (2009)
Dark, sentimental and magical all at once. Farrell helps fill the gaps of character Tony, played by Heath Ledger before he died during the making of the film.
Farrell’s fearsome character Bullseye is a baddie worth watching. Leaving sanity at the door, he takes on superpowered Daredevil with gonzo and grit.
In Bruges (2008)
Bruges makes for a brooding background for Farrell’s rookie hitman. Known for its surreal sequences, critics couldn’t decide if the film was weird or wonderful.
Fright Night (2011)
In the cult classic’s remake, Farrell channels a sensual vampire threatening suburbia, playing the psycho as goriness is met with comic relief. ANGIE KALOV