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Ireland’s Hottest Cinematic – Colin Farrell
Possibly Ireland’s hottest cinematic export since Liam Neeson got his kilt off in Rob Roy, Colin Farrell enjoyed a generous helping of trans-Atlantic buzz for his work in Joel Schumacher’s 2000 military drama Tigerland.
Previously known in his native Ireland for supporting parts in film and television productions, Farrell earned both industry recognition and international heartthrob status for his portrayal of a young drifter recruited to fight in the Vietnam War, winning over critics and audiences with talent, charisma, and his fearless assumption of a Texan accent.
The son of famed footballer Eamon Farrell, Farrell was born in Dublin, on March 31, 1976. Growing up, he planned to follow in the footsteps of his father and an uncle, who was also a well-known footballer in the 1960s. However, Farrell’s plans changed when, while he was still in high school, his sister enrolled in acting classes at Dublin’s Gaiety School of Drama. His interest piqued, the nascent actor followed suit, signing up for classes at the Gaiety School and then making his film debut in a low-budget production called Drinking Crude before he even made it to the Gaiety’s classrooms.
Having dropped out of high school in order to pursue acting, Farrell dropped out again — this time from the Gaiety — after a successful audition for the Irish TV series Ballykissangel. Joining the show in 1996, he earned a degree of fame in his native country, which opened the door for further work in the U.K. In 1999, he could be seen in the family drama The War Zone, Tim Roth’s directorial debut, and on TV in Love in the 21st Century, a segmented series that also featured such up-and-comers as Ioan Gruffudd and Catherine McCormack.
His first glint of overseas recognition came the following year, when Farrell was cast in a supporting role in Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s Ordinary Decent Criminal, an Irish gangster drama starring Kevin Spacey and Linda Fiorentino. Criminal, which didn’t fare well on U.S. shores, was quickly followed by Joel Schumacher’s Tigerland. Although the low-key ensemble film, which was set in a Louisiana boot camp in 1971, received a lukewarm reaction from critics and audiences, Farrell’s performance was the subject of almost ubiquitous praise.
Quickly labeled as one of the most exciting new actors to be detected by the Hollywood radar, the young Dubliner subsequently found himself enmeshed in the distinctly American phenomenon of almost overnight success; before the year was out, he had secured starring roles in a number of projects, including American Outlaws, in which he starred as Jesse James alongside Scott Caan and Kathy Bates, and Joel Schumacher’s Phone Booth, a thriller about a young man (Farrell) fighting for his life inside the titular enclosure.
Although the long-delayed Outlaws did little for Farrell’s career, far more ticket buyers were able to see the young actor alongside Bruce Willis in the somber POW drama Hart’s War in early 2002. The following year, Farrell would continue to set his status as a talented Tinseltown newcomer in The Recruit before shedding his mane as the villainous Bullseye in the comic book superhero film Daredevil (also 2003).
Now Colin Farrell stars as Alexander the Great directed by Oliver Stone.