DD Int: Bullseye
This past weekend I flew out to Los Angeles to interview the cast and crew of DAREDEVIL. The following is the first in a six-part series of interviews, an interview with Colin Farrell who stars as Bullseye. As you may or may not know have realized from John Gunn's interview with Colin as he promoted THE RECRUIT, he's a brutally honest guy, spitting out curse words in between drags of his Camel Lights. All things that make his publicist visibly cringe. But in his relatively new career he's become the latest "it" actor, starring alongside Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis and Al Pacino, and now chewing up scenery alongside Ben Affleck. Oh and there was something about a girl named Britney?... Here's Colin:
Do movies like this bring out the kid in you?
CF: Yeah it was a lot of fun man. It really was a lot of fun. It's just check yourself in at the door and have a good time. You know I've never done a job like this before. All the jobs I've done up until now, I've tried to do characters that are obviously more based in reality and have had some struggle within themselves - you know, finding out who they are and their place in the world - and this was just so black and white. Cause he's such a fuckin lunatic. (laughs)
And so Irish.
CF: And so Irish, yeah. I had a field day doing it. Just a check yourself in at the door and just go for it, ya know?
How did you feel about shaving your head?
CF: I was cool with it. Every morning, yeah... No, I got my first skinhead when I was 17 and I've had a shaved head at various stages since then so I had no problem with it.
Did you read comic books back in Ireland?
CF: Not at all. I had never heard of DAREDEVIL till I met Mark. Not much of a comic book culture where I come from. No baseball cards... I think now there's a Forbidden Planet, the comic book store, in Dublin. But I hadn't heard of it. But I met Mark and he had a blatant passion for the project and the comic book and the characters, you know he had gotten his first comic book when he was eight. He's been an avid fan of it so just being with him was so contagious cause he just loved it so much. He had written the script and from Day 1 was a part of everything on the project. Costumes...he wrangled all the bands for the soundtrack...he had his finger in every single pie. That was a huge part of the reason I wanted to do this piece. Mark Steven Johnson.
Given the fact you said you didn't have a comic book culture in Ireland, how surprised are you that you obtained this kind of status as an actor in this country?
CF: I got the shock of my life when I was told I got the chance to do TIGERLAND, I couldn't believe it. And I got the next job and I couldn't believe I got hired and when I got the chance to do HART'S WAR and MINORITY REPORT with Steven Spielberg...are they on fuckin drugs? And then I got the chance to do this and to work with Al (Pacino). Each step along the way has been a surprise. I'm still not used to the fact that I get to choose sometimes the pieces and that I'm in a position of privilege as an actor that I'm in. It's shocking and surprising and I don't know why I was given this opportunity and chosen.
I noticed right after the screening there were all these kids coming up to you asking for your autograph.
CF: Yeah, a lot's changed in the past week. The last week alone...I've never noticed change in three years cause the films I've done didn't exactly light up the box office but a lot's changed in the past week. I'm getting calls from friends at home saying paparazzi are outside my house, my mother's house in Dublin. You know, that's never happened before to me.
I've got a suspicion as to why that's happening...Britney Spears. (laughs)
CF: No shit? (laughs) I dunno...she was one guest of 25 that was there that night and that's it pretty much.
Does she mind the publicity surrounding this?
CF: Well she's more used to it than I am.
How did your family react to all this?
CF: Ehh...there's not enough there to react to really. It's all just new. To them as it is to me. So really I never got around to preparing them to deal with things. All I can deal with is what's an inch from my face. We'll just see what happens.
Is it interesting to you to see that you make all these movies, do all this work and for the silliest reason in the world, everyone is talking about you?
CF: Yeah it's not surprising. I shoulda known. It's a crazy fuckin world, whaddya gonna do?
You had no idea this was going to happen?
CF: You know I'm such a fuckin idiot when I don't think. That's what I'm sayin - I don't think. I'm sitting in a hotel with 25-30 of my family and friends who came over from Dublin and she's there and talking to someone in the corner with her friends and I'm going, "Isn't this all dandy. We're all together having drinks before the premiere." and we go to the premiere and the limos open and then I went, "Oh, of course, of course." And then it was a feeding frenzy. But up until that time, I hadn't fuckin thought of it. And there'll be people that'll go, "Shut up, you manipulative bastard, yes you did." It's not that I'm dumb, I just don't think sometimes.
Would you date her?
CF: Sheís a gorgeous girl, man. Really just a sweetheart. Not exactly hard on the eyes either. Would you?
Of course. But I think you're in a better position than I am.
CF: That's not the point. (laughs)
Since you didn't have that foundation in comics, what did Mark tell you to prepare for the character?
CF: Umm, we just talked about where he was from and Mark wanted to make him from Dublin. We just talked about how much joy and how much pleasure he gets from his chosen gig which is essentially being an assassin and how much fun he's having with that. He's like a cat with a ball of thread when he's doing his job there with a potential victim. Thatís what it was all really about, just enjoying it. Enjoying the game, enjoying the chase, enjoying the kill. And of course he goes against Daredevil and for the first time in his life he gets a little...not quite able to figure out how he missed cause he's never missed before.
This is a very different character than in PHONE BOOTH. Were you disappointed that movie got delayed?
CF: Not really because - yeah you want it to get over with cause it did it over two years ago and fuck it, let it go out, see if anyone sees it and put it to bed - I had no problem when it was pulled. Because there was people dying on the East Coast and it's just a movie. Had no problem with it at all.
Did you study publicists for that character?
CF: I know enough of them... His problem, his particular danger, the direction of which he was heading as a human being, in a few years he could've ended up as a pretty nasty fella. It's something that it's not just publicists, you get a lot of agents, producers, in this industry that were suffering from the problems he was. The malfunction of character. Of course though you meet assholes in restaurants and dry cleaners and who server burgers in Burger King. There's fuckin assholes everywhere. So I met enough assholes in my time to draw on.
What was your favorite scene in DAREDEVIL?
CF: The scene on the rooftop when it starts to rain and he sees her. I thought it was beautiful. When he sees her reflected in the rain...I had never seen that before. It was nice to see a film that I only had five minutes in. It was lovely. Hadnít seen anything and I could just enjoy the movie. I thought what they did with the hyperworld the way he would see everything was fantastic. And at the funeral when she puts the umbrella up and he loses sight of her...just thought it was lovely. So smart...
Growing up did you think you were closer to the vigilante or to Bullseye?
CF: Never a bully. One would like to think closer to the vigilante. But I fuckin hate bullies. If there's one thing in the world I hate, it's people who prey on the weak just to make themselves feel good.
Were you ever bullied?
CF: No, but I got in scrapes. Never bullied, nah. I got slugged, I slugged back to stick up for myself.
They were saying you might be a candidate for a BATMAN if there ever was one. Was that just something that was speculation?
CF: Completely man. Internet fodder. I didn't hear...I had a meeting with Wolfgang Petersen but not for BATMAN, just a general meeting. He didn't know if he was going to do BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN or the Trojan War movie. That'll be a fun one to look at.
CF: BATMAN. But the Trojan film's a great script. Phenomenal.
You've had this whirlwind few weeks but after this you've got a few films coming out and then it gets quiet. You've got ALEXANDER THE GREAT lined up but what else?
CF: Gotta get back to work. Back to the reason I'm here.
So that's gonna be the next one? Or you gonna take some time off?
CF: I got a beautiful job that I got lucky enough to do, lined up next called HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD.
CF: Yeah, yeah. It's a small, intimate character piece. Got to get back to doing some fuckin acting.
How do you respond to that criticism? The media writes "he looks good on screen but what about when he's forced to do a role where he actually has to act?"
CF: As far as I'm concerned, I dunno if I did it good or not, but I was forced to act in HART'S WAR, I was forced to act in MINORITY REPORT, I was forced to act in TIGERLAND, I was forced to act in PHONE BOOTH and this one in particular, more than any of the others, was just such a comical piece, just such an over-the-top character to play. But it was all smoke and mirrors. It was all tricks, for sure. But Iíve tried my best to find characters in everything I've done. Don't know if I've succeeded or not, but it'll be nice to do something really intimate and small and personal.
Could you share a few words about Jennifer Garner?
CF: She's great man. Sheíll fuckin kick your ass. Sheís fit as a fiddle and well able to do her fight scenes. We'd do a couple of takes of a fight scene and I'd be over in a corner wheezin and she'd be going, "Can we go straightaway?" I'm thinking the bitch is gonna kill me. I'm dying you know? (laughs) But she's a great girl and fantastic to work with.
How often do you get home?
CF: I was home at Christmas for a couple of weeks; I was home before that in September for a few weeks.
Does that keep you grounded?
CF: Yeah, yeah. It's where I love. My favorite city in the world. It's Where Iím from. Otherwise I wouldn't know where I'm from. I'll be off doing ALEXANDER stuck doing SWAT here HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD I think is Toronto. The only fixed address I have is Dublin city.
How's SWAT going?
CF: It's good, it's taking a while. A long gig. It's going good though. You never know...you just do the work and leave it behind you right?
What was it like with Michael Clarke? Was it fun one-upping him as Kingpin?
CF: It was great fun. We had a great time. What a presence man, Jesus.
Was it kind of hard to, since he is so huge, steal the spotlight?
CF: I think the best thing I did was sit in the chair. (laughs) But it was great fun. I had a great time working with Michael. It was all brief scenes. You've seen the film, you know I never really got to sit and have major dialogue with anyone. That was probably the biggest dialogue scene I had, was with Michael. It's all scowling and physical movements and all that shit. As I said, it's all smoke and mirrors.
You always seem to have your family around at premieres and such. What's their reaction when they read stories about you sleeping with some girl? Or saying all he does is drink and smoke and fuck?
CF: My mom's reaction would be, "Sounds like my son." They know I'm an alright person. Iím not a bad man. And my mother would worry about me of course, she's a mother, what's she gonna do? But she knows I'm just finding me way in the world and she'd probably be happy if I didn't say fuck as often as I do and she'd like me to smoke less than I do and drink less than I do. But I drink as much as my friends back home. Then I come over here and it's a big (gasp!). But at home it's nothing. It's just routine. Go through a few pints every night. So it's fine.
Anything you want the public to know about you?
CF: Not really. No...
They seem to know the important stuff right?
CF: I dunno. I don't know what anyone knows about me.
When are you going home again?
CF: I will be home hopefully around February.
CF: Cause I finish SWAT. As soon as I finish I'm on the first plane back home.
What was your reaction when they told you about the costume?
CF: Yeah it's great man, bring it on. I knew this gig was never gonna be about the subtleties (laughs) so it was a perfect marriage of what Mark wanted to do and what we all thought Bullseye would be about.
Is there anything you wouldn't do for a role?
CF: Sleep with someone? Kill someone?
If your career progressed to the point where the studios would back anything you do, what project would you want to get off the ground?
CF: Thereís a job I wanted to do that I didn't get the financing called THE JACKET. Beautiful, beautiful script. Reads like a small script but because of some of the action scenes it cost quite a bit. It's not a small script but an intimate story. Supposed to be a tight thing but because of some of the special effects in some of the scenes the budget ended up being, not particularly high, but high enough where the studio said no. And if it ever got to the point where they'd back something I did, I'd love to do that. Antoine Fuqua was gonna direct it and it's a gorgeous, gorgeous script. I dunno...I'm still looking around. And some Irish pieces. I'd love to get some work done at home.
That's it for Round One. Stay tuned for more from the DD junket including interviews with the remaining cast members, producers Avi Arad and Gary Foster and director Mark Steven Johnson.