Banshees of Inisherin star Colin Farrell in his first Oscar season
Although he’s very ready for it to be over, Best Actor nominee Colin Farrell has never taken his awards season experience for granted. “Being a working actor is brilliant,” the “Banshees of Inisherin” actor tells IndieWire.
There was no cynicism in Colin Farrell’s voice when he spoke to IndieWire the day after the 2023 Screen Actors Guild Awards. “I’ve never been to SAG before.” I’ve never been nominated, I’ve never been there as a presenter, I’ve never been in the room,” said The Banshees of Inisherin star, who was up for best actor and best ensemble that night. “I’ve been doing this or whatever, acting, for 25, 26 years, so to be in the room last night is pretty cool.”
One of the beauties of this Oscar season is that there are so many first-time nominees (16 of the 20 acting nominees, to be exact). Farrell himself is part of the only group of Best Actor nominees since 1935 to receive their first Oscar nomination, despite the Irish actor appearing in several Oscar-nominated films over the years, including Minority Report (2002), “ Crazy Heart” (2009), “Mr. Saving Banks’ (2013) and ‘The Lobster’ (2015). Although she described being involved in an awards show campaign as “something I’m not used to,” Farrell’s enthusiasm for each event was contagious.
“Look, Ariana DeBose came and did her thing at the BAFTAs and people got a little grumpy online and all that shit. I started,” the actor said with a laugh. “I almost went viral because I’m the only dude, like an ass-head, who’s fucking jumping and hitting my knee or my hand. I’m just trying to have fun with it.”
It helps that Farrell is able to share that journey with the “Banshees” crew, including writer-director Martin McDonagh and Searchlight Pictures co-stars Brendan Gleason, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan, all of whom are currently nominated for Oscars. “We don’t see much of each other, we live in different countries, so being with them as much as I did was fucking magical. It was such a balm for the soul,” said the actor. “And then, honest to God, being at the forefront of celebrating other people’s work was really, really fun. . . The sense of community was extraordinary.”
Farrell has particularly enjoyed some events targeting below-the-line talent, having recently won the Society of Camera Operators Awards, where he received the Governor’s Award for the 2023 SOC Lifetime Achievement Awards. “They gave out some prizes, but there was no competition that you feel at the big ones. The big awards are so bold, there’s a lot of money behind them. There are producers everywhere. It has a razor’s edge. You can feel the tension in the air and everything. It’s a bit gladiator,” said the actor.
“But in the hall of the Society of Camera Operators, it was just the love of cinema, the sense of camaraderie and support. And that’s what I get when I talk to Austin (Butler) or when I see Paul (Mescal) or when I worked with Brendan and Kerry and Barry and the rest of the cast on the island and they were filming Inisherin. said. “So that’s the kind of thing that really took a toll on me. It’s a very supportive community. It really is.”
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While Farrell was very appreciative of her soulful performance as the simple, resilient Pádraic Súilleabha, McDonagh said the joy of acting in McDonagh’s tale of a sudden friendship breakup with heartbreaking results is “collaborating with others and bringing stories to life.”
With the idea that his recent success was due to him becoming more of a character actor and opening up to twenty-something supporting roles after a well-documented ups and downs in the first decade of his starring career, Farrell pushed back. “I honestly feel like every actor is a supporting character. If you’re not a supporting character, you damn well don’t serve the story. If you don’t support the other characters, if you don’t support the story, you’re not doing your job,” said the star.
“Some of the best times are years ago going to ‘The Gentleman’ or ‘Horrible Bosses’ and doing a week,” he added. “And some of the most significant times are a little more emotional investment, a little more time, whether it’s ‘Banshees’ or ‘Lobster’ or whatever. For me, I just wanted every experience to be a little different. It’s just fun that way. It keeps me on.”
He reiterated that essentially the experience reminded him how lucky he is to still be making money doing what he loves.
“I still pinch myself sometimes that I get to do what I do for a living. And I know it doesn’t cure cancer, and I know it doesn’t split the atom, but movies played a very important role in my life as a boy, as a young man. Today they do it as a man. As a father, they play an important role in my life. Myself, my two children, movies are the real cornerstone of our relationships,” said Farrell.
Discussing her experience at this year’s Oscar nominees luncheon, she said, “I walk into this space as a fan. Yes, I entered as a candidate and I am giddy as a candidate, but I am giddy as a candidate because I’m a fan, and because I’ve been watching the work of (other) candidates since I was a child.”
Photo: Jonathan Hession. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures
One of Farrell’s vivid memories as a teenager was seeing Daniel Day-Lewis win his first Oscar for “My Left Foot,” so of course he’d like to follow suit. “The desire is there. If you’re nominated, you want to hear your name and everything else, and you have to be aware of that, own it, but also have a little suspicion about where it’s coming from and what it means and how much you want it and all that stuff,” the actor said. . “So I really just enjoyed it, knowing that I’m very privileged, number one, to be able to work as an actor. There are so many actors and so little work on stage, television and film. So just being a working actor is brilliant. Then the privilege of the past few months has been extraordinary.”
“Life is short. It’s short as hell. And where you can have fun and take a little shine to your environment and your situation, that’s where I recommend it,” Farrell added. “Having said that, I’m ready for it to end.” Although , to be clear, she’s very excited about the Oscars. “I don’t have a single fucking expectation, and I just drilled it into myself to go laugh and enjoy the moment,” the nominee said. “My youngest son is going to be the plus one. So what we’re both wearing the same tuxedo and we’re really looking forward to it.”
And as for what’s next for Farrell, he’s already filming “Penguin,” HBO Max’s eight-episode TV spin-off of the blockbuster “The Batman,” which was nominated for several Academy Awards this year. “The scripts are so delicious, so delicious,” he teased. “I have to be careful about the comparison, but it’s like New York City in the ’70s, you know. It feels a little like “The French Connection,” Farrell said.
He hopes to work with filmmaker Kogonada later this year, after starring in his Independent Spirit Award-nominated A24 film “After Yang.” And, of course, Farrell’s busy schedule will always leave room to make another film with McDonagh, with whom he has worked continuously since 2008’s “In Bruges,” another Oscar-nominated film he considers a turning point in his career. “The creative process is very deep and very rich with Martin. This is amazing. And it only gets deeper and richer the older he gets,” said the actor. “I love Martin, I love Brendan. I love the whole ‘Banshees’ crew. So I hope we can do something again.”
Searchlight Pictures’ The Banshees of Inisherin is now streaming on HBO Max.
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