What the Hell Happened to Colin Farrell?
Colin Farrell was one of the biggest up and coming leading men in Hollywood 10 years ago, he’s worked with Michael Mann, Oliver Stone, Woody Allen, Terrence Malick, and Steven Spielberg but now seems to be struggling to stay relevant, despite the most unforgettable eyebrows in Hollywood.
What the hell happened?
Colin Farrell was born Born on May 31, 1976, Farrell studied acting at the Gaiety School of Drama in Dublin. In the mid to late 90’s he had a string of (mostly uncredited) appearances in small things like Frankie Starlight, Disappearance of Finbar, Drinking Crude, and War Zone, as well as some British shows like Love in the 21st Century and Ballykissangel, which was his big break, scoring a recurring role.
Farrell’s real break came when performing in a play In a Little World of Our Own when Kevin Spacey was in the audience and enjoyed his performance.
ORDINARY DECENT CRIMINAL (2000)
Spacey suggested Farrell for a role, which sat him next to Kevin Spacey and Linda Florentino in a classic gangster movie set in modern-day Ireland, with Spacey playing the flamboyant lead. The film got poor reviews, especially the performances of the leads, and their botched Irish accents. The film never found an audience stateside.
Colin Farrell got his first Hollywood leading role in no time, being cast in Joel Schumacher’s low-budget Tigerland (in his WTHH career of post Batman grittiness).
Tigerland tells the story of a group of young men who have been drafted for Vietnam, in their last stop of training before being shipped out. Farrell is the edgy draftee, who causes trouble but is the soul of the unit. He helps get people discharged for behavior, but the generals won’t do him such a favor. A rivalry between him and another recruit culminates in violence as the tension escalates. This is actually a surprisingly good movie, as much as I hate to admit Schumacher is capable of making decent stuff. Farrell carries the picture well, affecting a strong Texas accent. It received positive reviews, especially his performance, although it never found an audience in theaters.
AMERICAN OUTLAWS (2001)
Farrell next played the lead in American Outlaws, as Jesse James. Very much in the vein of a Young Guns, a western with a fair share of light-heartedness and good-looking young actors like James Caan and Ali Larter. Les Mayfield was known for directing family friendly comedies, how he got this job I’ll never know. Critics hated the film and it bombed in the box office. Roger Ebert summed it up thusly:
It only wants to be a bad movie, and fails. Imagine the cast of “American Pie” given a camera, lots of money, costumes and horses, and told to act serious and pretend to be cowboys, and this is what you might get.
Farrell was in his early-mid twenties and had fame and fortune heaped on him after not getting into an Irish boy-band for being tone-deaf. He quickly began earning a reputation as a hard-partying star, during this period he married actress Amelia Warner. It lasted four months.
HART’S WAR (2002)
Farrell followed up by co-starring with Bruce Willis in Hart’s War, a melodramatic WWII film that takes place in a Nazi POW camp, in which the POWs conduct a sort of mock trial for a white soldier’s murder of a black officer. Convoluted right? It’s basically any military courtroom drama (Few Good Men etc.). The movie got mixed to negative reviews, but bombed at the box office, only earning back half its budget. Farrell was praised again and was universally acknowledged as a star in the making. He replaced Edward Norton who dropped out of the part.
MINORITY REPORT (2002)
Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise teamed up for the Philip K Dick adaptation in summer of 2002. Farrell joined in as a supporting part, beating out Matt Damon for the role.
It’s a high concept sci-fi story about pre-crime, as people who can see the future foresee crimes before they happen and people are arrested on that charge. Farrell has a small but important part as a detective. Minority Report opened to good reviews, and did decent at the box office, but underperformed relative to its large budget. However, it marked the first time Farrell worked with a big time director (sorry joel Schumacher, I hate you), and Spielberg has been the maker of many young actor’s careers (Damon, LeBeauf, Law). Being seen with Spielberg and Cruise was a good thing. And personally I love this film, Spielberg does better than most with his Dick adaptation, after the 80s and 90s Schwarzenneger affairs.
Next Up – The Bigtime
Posted on February 1, 2014, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged Al Pacino, Alexander, Colin Farrell, Oliver Stone, Recruit, Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, total recall. Bookmark the permalink. 74 Comments.