Colin Farrell might be the most underrated actor of his generation. While maybe he hasn’t been the best at picking projects, he’s certainly never been the worst thing in any of his pictures. In fact in some, he’s been the best, including In Bruges and Miami Vice. Now Farrell returns to the crime genre with Dead Man Down, about a man hell bent on revenge who must also assist his next door neighbor (played by Noomi Rapace) in her own little schemes. It’s a tight thriller, and Farrell turns in another solid performance.
We were lucky to have the chance to sit down with Mr. Farrell to discuss the film.
In terms of your character Victor, what was it that you didn’t get a chance to explore in previous roles?
Colin Farrell: I can’t say guilt or redemption. I don’t know cleanly one thing that I got to explore than I hadn’t got to explore before. You’re exploring some form of human emotion, there’s just certain emotions that are magnified in one character. I know situationally, I’d never played a character who had gone through what this guy had gone through, and who had decided on a path of violence as clearly as this guy had decided on his path. The thing that marked me as a more unique film was the relationship between him and her. There’s kind of a sweetness and a tenderness there. You know, it’s not this wonderful, blossoming romance, they never have sex in the film. They’re two fractured and very broken and very lonely characters who are both hellbent on revenge and both find a sense of salvation, and kind of a path out of the darkness, so that was kind of the cool thing about it. You have these two people are just consumed with rage, and yet there’s a tenderness to them. It’s just a nice dichotomy to that to play around with.
This character is similar to the one you played in London Boulevard, and both films center on the relationships, sort of a character study. When you’re doing a film in this genre, is that important to you?
London Boulevard was actually the reason I almost didn’t do Dead Man Down. But I think so. I think you always have to care about somebody in a film. You really have to care if James Caan is going to come around and accept Will Ferrell as his son. You do, or the film doesn’t work man! The jokes work, but you kind of have to care. With that in mind, yeah. That’s why I got the thriller aspect to it, the twists and turns and all that stuff and I enjoyed all that stuff, and the violence was all fine and relevant to what was going on. But to me, fundamentally, what was most important was the character study and the study of loss and pain, and what that can do to a person and how that can shut them down, or how a sense of compassion and love from somebody else can help to reawaken what has been considered dormant.
In the relationship in the film, your character is sort of held hostage by Beatrice. Was there ever any concern of how to make this work?
The thing was, you get practical on it at first, and you think ‘why doesn’t he just go over to the apartment and take the footage?’ or why doesn’t he just go over there and kill her?’ and all that. Then you get into stories and find reasons for that really quick and that speaks to the kind of guy he is. Then you get to something not preposterous, but to the kind of guy he is. I found on the inside it made kind of a sense of rationale. It seemed conceivable. It seemed very, very simple. In a moment in a heat of passion in my apartment, when I strangled that guy because he found out who I was and what I was there for, and she caught it on tape, I didn’t feel I had to make any great leaps in the film. And hopefully the audience doesn’t feel they have to make any ones either.
Do you think anything can mend a broken heart?
I don’t know, I would believe so. I don’t know how. I can’t imagine the work it would take and the tears that would have to be spilled, the forgiveness that would have to be placed upon oneself or another, depending on the circumstances. But I would hope so, I would think so.
Was there anything you lost by coming here and trying to live the American Dream?
I started yoga a couple of years and the best thing about yoga is that it’s not about winning or losing. There’s no arrival, it’s all about constant change and growth. There’s no right or wrong. You see yogis that have been doing it for forty years and someone who’s next to them could still give them an adjustment when they’re in position because the body is constantly in flux. But coming to America, I’ve certainly come to this country in a lot more comfortable fashion than a lot of my forefathers, and a lot of my people came here to survive and I came here to follow a dream. I’m very lucky in regards to that.
Could you talk about working with Noomi Rapace?
Noomi’s great, she’s magnificent. I just felt like I had a really good dance partner, and I hope it was the same for her. We just moved and timed with each other on the set, we had very similar ideas about what the film could be, and our characters journeys, toward each other, away from each other, and then back again. I had a really good time. We had hotel rooms that were beside each other on the same floor, and we shared a balcony. It was really cute. She’d text me, or I’d text her, ‘do you want to meet on the balcony and talk about tomorrow’s work?’ It was very sweet. We’d have a sneaky cigarette and talk about the day’s work. It was a little diluted reflection of what’s going on in the film without the sinister aspect. She’s just really bright, she’s got a lot of life experience, and she’s really open and she has a lot of integrity, and it means a lot to her. The characters that she plays mean a lot to her. She takes complete possession of what she does and she’s just wonderful. I really loved working with her.
Dead Man Down is in theaters now.