Colin Farrell attends the 'The Killing Of A Sacred Deer' screening on May 22, 2017 in Cannes, France. Photo credit: Denis Makarenko /

At this year’s Golden Globes, Colin Farrell won Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy Motion Picture for his performance in “The Banshees of Inisherin.” He portrays Pádraic, a sweet-souled farmer in the dark tragicomedy set off the west coast of Ireland. Farrell’s other work includes

“The Lobster,” “After Yang,” “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “The Batman,” “Daredevil,” and “In Bruges,” which won him his first Golden Globe in 2009. Here are acting insights Farrell has shared over the years:

The challenges of the actor

“When you’re doing a film, once you start asking, ‘What would I do?’ you’re getting the distance greater between yourself and the character, or you’re bringing the character to you, which I think is self-serving in the wrong way. The idea is to bring yourself to the character.”

“Pain seems to be easier, or melancholy seems to be easier to portray in a character. I don’t know if that’s because I’m a human being or because I’m an Irishman or both.”

“I’m not going to experience the reality of hardship that sometimes my characters live in. I’m very cautious about that.”

“Making a film, you’re in a really dark tunnel and the only kind of illumination is the shared experience you’re having with your fellow cast and director.”

“Most of an actor’s work is done at home, in your hotel room, in the wee hours of the morning thinking and reading and feeling, walking around and listening to music. It really just becomes an internal exercise, whatever skills. It’s great if you have to learn something new for a gig, and designing a character physically is always fun, but it does become an internal exercise in separating the wheat from the chaff.”

“Sometimes I have experienced at the start of a film you’re very excited and enthusiastic, and you’ve done all your preparation internally and externally. And you start the film, and it’s all go … Then your attention goes somewhere else. Your energy goes into telling the story, so you don’t have the same amount of energy to be objective. And that’s okay because sometimes you become a subject of the story and you’re inside it so much that you don’t need to keep on looking on the outside.”

“From my experience, the only thing you can do is take what’s written on the page and try, through your own curiosity and investigation, to make it your own and honor what the original intent was.”

“Anything that’s different from your own realm of experience as a human being, whether it’s driving a car or a boat, or using guns, anything that separates you from yourself and leads you more towards this character’s existence is a big help.”

“I take acting very seriously. I put everything I have and know into it.”

“I was given the opportunity to just reconnect with the simplicity that should never leave the core of what we do, and that is curiosity. It’s just why do we do what we do? Why do human beings treat themselves and each other the way they treat themselves and each other?”

“I think I’m still trying to find my feet as an actor. And I know it ain’t brain surgery, but it confuses me, and it comes between me and my sleep a lot.”

Being open to new experiences

“You know, I’ll try anything. I’ll do anything. I’ll explore. Try different takes. All that kind of stuff to do sometimes, to do good performances, but always conducive to having a good time creatively.”

“I personally just want to do as many different things as I can do, whether it’s comedy, drama, science fiction, horror, narrator … You’ve got a documentary, I’ve got a voice. Animated films. Big films, small films.”

“Desperation will allow you to do incredible things in the name of survival.”


“I’ve done far too many things that I felt were going to be genius that weren’t, and I’ve done some things that I didn’t think were going to be much that really connected with people. So expectations are left at the door. But hope exists all the time.”

“I have hope. I have no expectations.”

Keeping perspective

“I know what the important things are in life. I know that just because I pretend to be someone else for two hours on the silver screen doesn’t make me a better person than the next man. So, I mind all those things. Simple things.”

“You move on. It’s work. Yeah, I’m privileged and paid handsomely and it’s not exactly being in a coal mine, but you still work your ass off, and you work as hard as you possibly can, and you hope that people connect to it and enjoy it.”

“Honest to God, I do not want an audience member to go in and waste two hours of their time. Who knows what babysitter they’ve got? Who knows how long it’s been since they’ve been to the cinema? You really don’t. Anyone who makes a film, I don’t care who it is, they want to make something that at least entertains, if not provokes.”