I think it’s specifically appropriate to say that Colin Farrell is one lucky cat. After all, if anyone in Hollywood has nine lives, it’s Farrell.
He was an overnight sensation when he starred in “Tigerland,” Hollywood’s hot new flavor of the month. Never mind that he’d been working for four years beforehand, including the show “Ballykissangel.” “Tigerland” was the moment international audiences first noticed him, and almost immediately, he was everywhere. His first big commercial run included roles in “Hart’s War,” “Minority Report,” “Phone Booth,” and “Daredevil,” and he failed as many times as he succeeded, enough so that when “Intermission” rolled around in 2003, just three years after “Tigerland,” it was already referred to by some of the media as a “comeback.”
I think Farrell has made choices over the years that indicate just how seriously he takes the job and how little he cares about stardom. You don’t star in “Ask The Dust” because you think you’re going to get an action figure deal out of it. You don’t make “In Bruges” because you’re hoping to make $50 million off of your gross points. He’s worked with Malick, Stone, Mann, Gilliam. He’s taken some outrageous chances, and even in his most mainstream movies, like “Miami Vice,” it seems like he makes the least safe versions of these big studio films.
When he signed on for “Total Recall,” it seemed like part of a new push to give him some commercial credibility again, coming right on the heels of his work in “Fright Night,” another remake. The Colin Farrell we’re seeing in these movies seems more relaxed and at home in his own skin than any previous incarnation, though, and he certainly talks a good game when he describes what attracted him to this role.
Watch him light up at the start of our interview when I mention the David Cronenberg draft of “Total Recall.” I’m going to have to go into the boxes in my garage and find that script again. Enough people have expressed interest in it recently that I need to dig it back out. I’ll say this, though… this version that Farrell is starring in seems like it’s concerned with some of the same ideas that Cronenberg was, things that Verhoeven didn’t care about at all. No matter what, I think it’s safe to say that Farrell approached this seriously, and that he wanted to make something great.
If nothing else, I admire the effort.
“Total Recall” opens everywhere on Friday.