Colin Farrell: Irish, honest and grown

There were times when Colin Farrell came to an interview with a beer and threatened to thrash the journalists if he didn’t like their questions. Those times are over. The forty-three-year-old actor knows how to steer his energy onto peaceful paths, which makes him a very pleasant conversation partner – of the kind that gives honest answers on St.Patrick's Day.
Text Rüdiger Sturm
Photo Getty Images

You have gone through some astounding transformations in your life and career – from rising star to bad boy. Then you became a good family man, preferring to shoot art films instead of blockbusters. Was that the plan?
Nature wants us to change, life wants us to grow. To try and hold on is like enforcing on ourselves some kind of unnatural arrested development. But it is not for me to say which factors have influenced me in the process. I’m just too close to the inside of it all. Though it’s not like I based my decisions on what others said. I sorted that out myself.

You’ve clearly changed your way of life. At some point, you were done with alcohol and drugs. Why was that?
I became a dad. And I was knackered, I was worn out. The candle had burned down from both ends until it met in the middle. There was no wick left. I was at the party for long enough, and at some point the party starts to get boring. Saying the same old shit into different ears every night, and everyone just pretends that they care. It’s a natural change. I knew that it couldn’t go on like this.

2022 Colin Farrell plays the villain "Penguin" in the new blockbuster "The Batman". The film opened on 3 March and is supposed to be the start of a trilogy focusing on Batman as a detective.

How do you stay on the right path?
I don’t know. I have no words of wisdom. The important thing is to treat yourself and others with respect. Life isn’t fair and you have to realize that not everything will fall into place as you would like it. You need to be present and take account of whatever gifts you have and push the desire to have more. Going day by day, you can walk the right path.

What are the benefits of staying sober?
I am more aware of my environment, my friends and myself. I have clearer thoughts. Inevitably that informs your work and your approach.

And if your new approach doesn’t work out right? What is there to help you?
I have good friends and I have close family if I need advice. For me, it was also important that I discovered yoga. When I get lazy, I can’t wait to get back on the mat. And I go hiking out into nature.

"Nature wants us to change, life wants us to grow. To try and hold on is like enforcing on ourselves some kind of unnatural arrested development."

Colin Farrell

Yoga is really something for you?
At first, I couldn’t picture me doing it. But because I realized that things were changing in my life, I thought to myself: One day I’ll get to the point where I’ll do yoga. And then it happened: I was home one afternoon, had nothing to do, my children were with their mothers. And I thought, “Now you’re going to try it out!” So I went online, picked out the right class. And I loved it right away.

But as a Hollywood star, you’ll be recognized immediately.
I don’t have a problem if people approach me. Actually, I like it a lot if I can experience some form of community. But during yoga, you don’t have to talk to anyone anyway. There are just forty people in the same room who share the same goal. I like that.

You used to play in big action movies. With your new yoga life, will we no longer be seeing you in such roles?
I don’t try to avoid anything. I just take it from job to job. Of course, my decisions are based on what I feel and have been exploring recently. And if I’ve just played a certain role, then I don’t necessarily want to repeat myself. It’s a lot more fun and more fulfilling to explore different aspects of life through the variety of different characters.

"I don’t try to avoid anything. I just take it from job to job. Of course, my decisions are based on what I feel and have been exploring recently."

Colin Farrell

Have there been any roles that you wish you hadn’t done?
Oh yeah. I didn’t finish high school; I don’t have a formal education because I wanted to become an actor. There was a phase when I would have done almost anything for money. So I did a bit of modeling on the side. One time, the guys from the agency said to me, “We need someone.” – “How much is it?”– “Twenty pounds.” – “I’m in. I can fucking do anything just for drinking money.” So I modeled male underwear on national TV, daytime. A thong! I’m not talking boxer shorts . . . a fucking thong!

Is that on YouTube?
Not yet. I don’t think they could find it. If someone finds it, please blackmail me! Because you’ll get whatever I can give you.

How about movie roles? Have you regretted any of them?
There were a few times when I thought (…)

Read the full interview with Colin Farrell in rampstyle #18.

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