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Feature: Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell

We look at the exploding film career of Colin Farrell

It was in the town of Castleknock, Dublin that Colin James Farrell, the youngest of four children, was born to parents Eamonn and Rita on May 31, 1976.

Although Colin looked set to follow in their footsteps, problems at school meant that his potential football career soon dwindled. The entertainment industry, however, was another thing entirely. He had always been a fan of American films and television and, as a child, used to put Smarties under his pillow for Marilyn Monroe in the hope that she would visit.

By the time Farrell was 17, the performance bug was setting in and he didnít think twice about auditioning for Louis Walsh in 1993 for his new band, Boyzone. Needless to say, he didnít get the gig. He embarked on a tour of Ireland with a troupe of Western line-dancers led by a 250-pound Irishman called Howard. Yes, this is still the same Colin Farrell. Luckily he had an epiphany when he looked into the mirror and saw a man in a Stetson and choker, who would make a worthy addition to the Village People, staring back at him. Heíd had enough.

In 1994, following a brief appearance in a Cadbury commercial, he decided to head to Sydney, Australia. It was here that Colin got his first taste for acting, courtesy of a stint at The Performance Place in the cityís Cleveland Street. In an admittedly poor performance of the Ned Kelly story, Farrell revelled in the opportunity to act and, upon returning home in 1996, accepted his brotherís offer to pay his entrance fee (then £20) into the Gaiety School of Drama. It wasnít long before auditions beckoned and, following an appearance in Owen McPolinís feature film Drinking Crude, Farrell joined the Lisa Richards Agency and landed a role on the TV mini-series Falling for a Dancer. This in turn led to a regular part in the BBCís ongoing drama series Ballykissangel, prompting Farrell to quit Gaiety.

Small parts continued to come Colinís way, including appearances in Tim Rothís The War Zone, TV drama Love in the 21st Century and the BBCís adaptation of David Copperfield. While treading the boards at Londonís Donmar Warehouse Theatre in the play A Little World of Our Own, Colinís portrayal of a semi-autistic boy caught the eye of a member of the audience Ė one Kevin Spacey. Spacey not only invited Farrell to join the cast of his upcoming movie Ordinary Decent Criminal, but also introduced Colin to the Creative Arts Agency in LA. After a nerve-racking interview, he was snapped up and soon offered a meeting with director Joel Schumacher for his latest film project.

As a result, the young Castleknock kid that nobody had ever heard of (unless they had a penchant for line-dancing and Irish soaps involving priests) took the lead in Tigerland, a $10 million movie about a gang of young American soldiers involved in the Vietnam War.

by Grant Kempster

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Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Colin Farrell 2004
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