Childhood & Early Life
Colin Farrell was born on 31 May 1976, in Dublin, Ireland, to Rita and Eamon Farrell. His father ran a health food shop and was also a football player, who played for ‘Shamrock Rovers F.C.’
He has an older brother, Eamon Jr., and two sisters, Claudine and Catherine. His older sister Claudine went on to become his personal assistant, after he became an actor.
He began his schooling at ‘St. Brigid’s National School’ and completed secondary schooling from ‘Castleknock College.’ He then went to ‘Gormanston College,’ a co-educational, Catholic school, located at Gormanston Castle in Dublin.
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He was inspired to choose acting as a career after watching the sci-fi film ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.’ His brother encouraged him to join ‘Gaiety School of Acting’ from where he dropped out when he was chosen to act in ‘Ballykissangel,’ a ‘BBC’ television drama.
His debut feature film was ‘The War Zone.’ Thereafter, he acted in a movie called ‘Ordinary Decent Criminal.’ In the year 2000, he acted in the movie ‘Tigerland,’ after which his career graph spiraled northwards.
Farrell’s next venture was ‘American Outlaws’ (2001), in which he played the role of an outlaw by the name ‘Jesse James.’ Unfortunately, the film did not perform well at the box office. His next film ‘Hart’s War’ (2002), where he appeared alongside Bruce Willis, was also a flop at the box office.
Colin Farrell’s big breakthrough came in 2002, when he got an opportunity to act in director Steven Spielberg’s film ‘Minority Report.’ His role as a young member of the justice department became popular and earned him critical acclaim.
His film ‘Phone Booth,’ a thriller directed by Joel Schumacher, was also a hit at the box office. He played the role of a victim harassed by an unseen killer, who is bent upon revealing his sins to everyone.
The year 2003 was an important one for Farrell, as he received opportunities to work with prominent actors and directors. ‘The Recruit,’ ‘Daredevil,’ and ‘S.W.A.T’ were movies that did really well and catapulted Farrell to fame.
In 2003, he also acted in the Irish film ‘Intermission’ which was a black comedy. He acted in another Irish film titled ‘Veronica Guerin,’ which was directed by Joel Schumacher.
The year 2004 saw him playing the title role in the epic film ‘Alexander,’ which was directed by Oliver Stone. His performance in the film did not receive appreciation from the critics.
In 2005, he acted in yet another historical film titled ‘The New World,’ where he played explorer ‘John Smith,’ alongside Christopher Plummer and Christian Bale. Though the film did not do very well at the box office, it was acclaimed by the critics for its stunning cinematography.
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During the next two years, he acted in several films, such as ‘Miami Vice,’ ‘Ask the Dust,’ and ‘Cassandra Dreams.’ Though ‘Miami Vice’ and ‘Ask the Dust’ did not receive accolades, Woody Allen’s ‘Cassandra Dreams’ got mixed reviews from the critics.
‘In Bruges,’ which released in 2008, was a great success and was nominated for the ‘Golden Globe’ award. The same year, he also acted in a crime film titled ‘Pride and Glory.’ However, it was not as successful as ‘In Bruges.’
In 2009, he played the role of a street singer in the film ‘Crazy Heart.’ He even tried his hand at singing and recorded a few songs for this film.
The next two years saw him playing important roles opposite actors like Keira Knightley in ‘London Boulevard,’ and Jennifer Aniston in the comedy film ‘Horrible Bosses.’ Farrell was given credit for his performances in both the films, but received some negative reviews as well.
In 2012, he appeared alongside Kate Beckinsale in the remake of ‘Total Recall,’ a sci-fi film about a sleeper agent. His acting was compared with that of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, who had played the lead in the original. Farrell’s performance was considered to be better than that of Schwarzenegger’s.
In the same year, he appeared as creative writer ‘Marty’ in the black comedy film ‘Seven Psychopaths,’ which was directed by Martin McDonagh. His portrayal of ‘Marty’ in the film was highly appreciated.
He voiced a character in the 2013 animated film ‘Epic.’ From 2013 to 2019, he was cast in many movies like ‘Dead Man Down,’ ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ ‘Winter's Tale,’ ‘Solace,’ ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,’ ‘The Beguiled,’ ‘Widows,’ and ‘Dumbo.’ In 2019, he was cast to play important roles in films, such as ‘After Yang’ and ‘Voyagers.’
Although initially criticized for leading a hell-raising lifestyle, Colin Farrell is respected for his talent and versatility. His addiction to recreational drugs and pain killers is well-known and has undergone rehab treatment for the same.
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His film ‘Tigerland,’ directed by John Schumacher and released in 2000, is about recruits who undergo infantry training at Louisiana before leaving for Vietnam to fight in the war. Though the film was not a box office hit, it catapulted Farrell to fame and fetched him the ‘London Film Critics Circle Award’ for ‘Best Newcomer of the Year.’
In Oliver Stone’s ‘Alexander,’ he starred alongside famous actors like Christopher Plummer, Val Kilmer, Anthony Hopkins, and Angelina Jolie. Though the film did not do well at the American box office, it fared better internationally.