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Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Matinee Actor Spotlight - Colin Farrell

Well!  Top 'o the mornin' to ye!  And, a happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you, whether you have the blood of the Irish flowin' through your veins, or just pretendin' to be Irish for the sake of drinkin' lime coloured lager!

Okay, so maybe I'm not exactly the best example of somebody who can be classified as Irish.  As far as I know, I have absolutely no Irish ancestry at all within my family.  And for the record, I do a horrible Irish brogue. 

Seriously.  If I tried to do one, Liam Neeson would either laugh at me, or slap me in the face.  And, Sinead O'Connor would likely take my picture, rip it apart in several pieces and tell the world to "fight the real enemy". 

Yeah, maybe I'll just stick to my muddled Canadian accent, thanks.

But, there are some things that are inspired by Ireland that I do enjoy.  I used to eat Lucky Charms cereal and I occasionally use Irish Spring soap.  And, sometimes I'll even eat a serving or two of Irish stew. 

And, hey...I did turn this entire blog entry green for the day.  After all, the legend goes that if you are not wearing green today, you'll get a nasty pinch!  As you can see in the picture below, I took no chances.

Okay, so because today is St. Patrick's Day, it should come as no surprise that today's Monday Matinee subject will be heavily influenced by the luck of the Irish.  Consider it the "Blarney Stone" of the whole year's work, if you will.

But, considering that I have unofficially declared the year 2014 to be the "year of the twist" in "A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life", I'm going to incorporate a twist in how today's blog topic is presented.

You see...I'm not just going to spotlight one film in this space today.  I'm actually going to feature several.  And rather than make the films the meat of this Irish sandwich, the real story will be about one actor who is linked to each and every film featured in this entry for today.

An actor who was born and raised in the country of Ireland.

The main reason why I have chosen to do this is simple.  I haven't really seen a whole lot of Irish movies, and I'm even having a hard time coming up with a list of films that are either set in Ireland or filmed in Ireland.

But today happens to be St. Patrick's Day and I really wanted to have some sort of Irish connection.  Hence the reason why I chose to do an actor spotlight instead of a movie spotlight.

(At least this way, I can continue to maintain my claim that I never reveal movie endings.  In fact, if this happens to be successful, I might end up doing more of these actor spotlights.  Let me know what you think, okay?)

So, which Irish actor/actress will we feature?  Pierce Brosnan?  Brenda Fricker?  Daniel Day-Lewis?

Well, how about an actor who has worked consistently since the 1990s?  An actor who has worked with some of the best actors and actresses in the business?  An actor who got his start on an Irish soap opera?

Such is the life of 37-year-old Colin's first (and so far only) actor spotlight in the Monday Matinee!

So, what do we know about Colin Farrell?  Well, he was born in Baldoyle, Dublin, Ireland on May 31, 1976 to Rita and Eamon Farrell, and is one of four children.  And he was inspired to take on a career in acting after watching the 1982 film "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" after the movie moved him to tears.

(Okay, I admit that E.T. could be a bit sad and uncomfortable to watch in some parts.  It didn't make me cry, but I understand Colin's feelings entirely.  It took everything inside of me to get through "All Dogs Go To Heaven" with dry eyes.)

But believe it or not, Colin Farrell's path could have gone a different route had he been successful in his audition for this Irish based boy band.

Yeeeeah, I can't really picture Colin Farrell as a member of Boyzone either.  In fact, picturing him as an Irish Backstreet Boy kind of makes me chuckle.

But he did enroll in the Gaiety School of Acting after graduating from secondary school, and he would have likely stayed in the school and graduated from there had a twist of fate not happened in 1998.

You see, in 1998, Colin was offered his very first high-profile role (well, high profile in the United Kingdom anyway) and because of the commitment needed for the role, he had to drop out of his studies.

The part he played was of Danny Byrne, and the name of the television show was called "Ballykissangel".  It aired on the BBC between 1996 and 2001, and the premise of the show was all about how a British priest would move into a little Irish village and integrate himself into the community.  I've seen a couple of episodes of it, and I'll admit the program was a little bit too dry for my tastes, but it was decent enough.  It was certainly a huge hit in Ireland, and it was the very first production that Colin Farrell was linked to.  But, Colin only stayed on the show for just under two years because in 1999, he was cast in the British film "The War Zone", a chilling film about child abuse which also starred Tilda Swinton and Ray Winestone.  He also had his first taste of Hollywood when he worked with Kevin Spacey and Linda Fiorentino on the film "Ordinary Decent Criminal".  But that film was a bomb, as were Farrell's next few projects (though his turn in 2000's "Tigerland" was critically acclaimed).  It appeared as though Colin Farrell would not be able to catch a break.

That is until 2002 came around and suddenly Colin found himself to be a triple threat with a trifecta of successful American films.  He kept audiences glued to their seats with the film "Phone Booth", he got critics talking with his role in "The Recruit", and he showed everyone just how much of an action star he was when he appeared in the action-crime thriller "S.W.A.T."

(Of all these films, I liked "Phone Booth" the best, but really, all three of them were winners.)

And, Colin's experiences on these films helped him rub elbows with some of Hollywood's finest actors and actresses.  By the end of 2003, he had worked with Samuel L. Jackson, Al Pacino, Bridget Moynihan, Katie Holmes, Olivier Martinez, Jeremy Renner, and Kiefer Sutherland...just to name drop a few.

And, those were just his lead roles.  As a supporting actor, Farrell shined in such films as "Minority Report" (a role that Farrell earned after Matt Damon turned it down to work on "Ocean's Eleven"), and in the role of Bullseye in the 2003 film "Daredevil".

And Colin Farrell showed that he wasn't just capable of playing fictional characters either.  In 2004, he won the role of Alexander the Great in Oliver Stone's "Alexander", which did very well overseas, but didn't do so hot in North America.  His second historical role was that of Captain John Smith in the film "The New World", and the director of the film, Terrence Malick, went to great lengths to make sure that the film was a success.  He even kept Farrell away from the actress who was playing Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher) during filming until they shared scenes together so that their chemistry would be more believable.  The gambit worked as the film was essentially well-loved by critics.

And, in 2006, Colin Farrell scored another hit role when he was cast in the role of Sonny Crockett in the film adaptation of the 1980s series, "Miami Vice", which also starred Jamie Foxx as Ricardo Tubbs.

(Yeah, I know...the video above is from the television show.  So help me, I like the original Miami Vice theme.)

And, Colin Farrell is definitely showing no signs of slowing down in the movie business.  Over the last five years, he has appeared in no less than a dozen film projects which have included a wide variety of roles.  And, the good thing is that he's done movies that are suitable for a variety of audiences.

For instance, if you're looking for a good and fun family film, might I recommend the 2013 animated film, "Epic"?  In that film, he voices the role of Ronin, the leader of the Leafmen. 

If you're a fan of historical dramas that are based on true stories, I'll recommend the film "Saving Mr. Banks", which depicts the story of how Disney acquired the film rights to the movie "Mary Poppins".

TRIVIA:  In the film, Colin plays the alcoholic father of a young P.L. Travers, and I can't imagine that it must have been very easy for him to play, considering that he was in rehab at the end of 2005 for drug addiction.  But on the other hand, the fact that Colin played the role and played it well just goes to show that he definitely has acting talent.

(By the way, the movie comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray tomorrow, so definitely check it out if you haven't already.)

If comedy is your thing - particularly dark comedy - then you might consider watching the movie "Horrible Bosses", which has Farrell playing the role of the lazy, unproductive, boss of Jason Sudeikis' character, Bobby Pellitt.  In fact, the rather grotesque look that Farrell sports as the character of Bobby was largely inspired by Colin's own ideas as to how the character should appear. 

And of course, if you're still interested in seeing Colin Farrell on the big screen, you might be lucky enough to have a chance to go and see him in the film "Winter's Tale", which was released in February 2014.  As far as describing the character that he plays...well...I'd have to go into a whole lot of detail, and even so, I'm not quite sure how to describe it.  It might be best if you just went to the theatre and saw for yourselves.

So, that's just a brief summary of the life and times of Colin far.  Now, I have a couple of questions for you.

1.  Do you want me to do more of these actor spotlights in the Monday Matinee?

2.  What's your favourite Colin Farrell film?

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

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