Colin Farrell: True Blood
The one time Irish bad boy brings a lethal sexiness to his role as a predatory vampire in the horror comedy, 'Fright Night'.
Colin Farrell needed little preparation when it came to nailing the seductive qualities of a vampire. "That part was pretty easy for me," the actor laughs, glimpsing down at his mostly unbuttoned shirt, which reveals a muscled, tattooed torso. "Right? I didn't want to go to the obvious!"
For just when Twilight's Robert Pattinson has made vampires sweet and sensitive, Farrell is here to remind us why a vampire can never be trusted. Starring in a remake of the 1985 horror comedy, Fright Night, the role presented fresh challenges for this son of a footballer whose previous roles include country rocker, criminal, cop, bisexual and Alexander The Great. As much a character actor as he is a leading man, Farrell's breakout role came in 2000 with the Vietnam War-era drama Tigerland. Two years later, he reached a far wider audience as a cop chasing Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Since then, he's earned a Golden Globe for his portrayal of a hit man in the comedy drama, In Bruges, while scoring acclaim for his roles in Phone Booth, Intermission and The Recruit. Mixing up flashy lead roles with small character studies - such as his hilarious turn as a creepy sleazeball in the hit comedy, Horrible Bosses - Farrell's volatile private life has often overshadowed his accomplishments.
The father of two sons from different relationships, the actor seems at peace with life when we meet to discuss how he enjoyed sinking his teeth into his latest role. "You approach it like Richard III really, as silly as that sounds," Farrell says of his journey into all things vampiric. "You go into his backstory. When was he created? What was his life like up until then? What did he lose? How much was it of his choosing? How much emotional life does he have, or not have? Well, this guy has no emotional life. He's a single-minded predator who is very much a survivalist; he has no feelings or regrets. He's been on this planet for 400 years, and he's bored with the tedium of it all, which is why he acts in the way that he does."
Farrell is obviously fascinated by the topic. "We all seem to objectify the notion of eternal life, or being eternally young, as something to aspire to," he says. "Since the beginning of time, human beings have been trying to bend and twist time to their favour. To watch the pages of history turn, and to observe up close and personal, the evolution of man, culturally and physiologically, and how the planet changes - that might be interesting. On top of that, the strength and heightened senses and all that magic stuff that is attributed to vampires would be interesting too."
The analogies between Hollywood and vampires need hardly be spelt out to the Dublin native, who has called LA home for the past decade. Stalked by a woman who even recorded a song entitled, "Colin Farrell Is My Bitch", the 35-year-old actor says that he is neither prey nor predator. "Neither," Farrell laughs. "Naaah. I'm a grown man who makes his living in a town that might at times be more superficial than a lot of places...but I don't live here, I really don't. Hollywood, even though it is a geographical place in the city of Los Angeles, is a state of mind as well. I don't even work here that much. I shot five days of Horrible Bosses in LA, but that was the first time in seven years that I've worked anywhere near Hollywood since Minority Report. I've shot in Albuquerque, Morocco, Toronto, London and Dublin in the last few years. This place has been good to me though. I'll say that. Hollywood has been tricky to navigate through, but I've survived."
Fright Night is released on September 15.
This is an excerpt from a story that we ran in our September issue, on sale now.