MOVIES Actor Colin Farrell challenges the rules of Hollywood stardom
Since his acting debut, Farrell has been a major name in the tabloids.
By BARRY KOLTNOW
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- A big movie star doesn't walk into a plush Beverly Hills hotel suite carrying a plate of spaghetti.
But Colin Farrell does.
A big movie star doesn't interrupt a string of career-making roles in big-budget movies, including "S.W.A.T," "Minority Report" and the upcoming Oliver Stone epic "Alexander," with an understated performance as a sexually ambiguous character in a low-budget drama called "A Home at the End of the World."
But Colin Farrell does.
In fact, the 28-year-old Irish actor doesn't follow a lot of the rules of Hollywood stardom. And that, my friends, is the point.
"I have never pursued movie stardom, even though it seems as if I have," the ravenous and fast-talking Farrell says between bites of his pasta.
He cleans the plate in less than a minute, and then washes it down with a long swig of dark Irish beer. Satiated, he places the empty plate on a dresser and fires up a Camel Light. It will not be his last. He is wearing an open shirt, blue jeans, a chain metal belt and a wool cap that he removes and puts back on several times during the interview. It's almost as if he uses the cap to emphasize a point.
"I don't care about being a movie star," he says. "I like to work. If it turns out that by working at what I love, I become a movie star, then so be it. I'm not going to fight it."
But he's certainly going to enjoy every moment of it.
The tabloids and gossip hounds have had a field day with Farrell ever since he started acting in American movies about five years ago.
At one time or another, he has been linked to almost every available actress in town, and even to some who weren't available. He recently had a son with a woman he's dated, and his drinking and partying have become the stuff of Hollywood legend.
The interesting thing is that Farrell doesn't bother to deny any of it, although he insists that the media gives him too much credit.
"I'm single, I'm rich and I'm a movie star," he says without apologies. "If I can't have fun at this, what's the point?
"But I think the media writes so much about me because they're bored and have nothing better to do. I'm not quite as wild as they say I am. I work hard and, at the end of the day, I socialize and have a good time. I don't see anything wrong with that.
"If I start drinking so much that when I report to the set in the morning, I can't do my work, then come see me."
He plays the title character in Stone's holiday season film "Alexander," which should elevate Farrell to a new level of stardom in Hollywood.
So, the question needs to be asked: Why take a sharp right turn from that stardom course by appearing in "A Home at the End of the World"?
This is a small, Oscar-quality film written by Michael Cunningham, who wrote "The Hours," and directed by Michael Mayer, whose last directorial assignment was the Broadway musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie."
Hardly the kind of film one would expect from a rising Hollywood superstar.
"I read the script and it was so powerful, I told my agent that I had to be in it," Farrell said. "I didn't care whether it was good for my career. It was wonderful work."
The film follows the lives of two childhood friends who, with a woman played by Robin Wright Penn, form an unusual family. Farrell's character, Bobby, is beset by early tragedies that turn him into man/child who lives by his emotions. He may or may not be gay, and Farrell's well-publicized nude scene has been taken out of the final cut of the film.