Hugh Grant & Colin Farrell

Variety, December 12, 2016 | Go to article overview

Hugh Grant & Colin Farrell


Hugh Grant ("Florence Foster Jenkins") and Colin Farrell ("The Lobster") checked into the Variety Studio to talk about directors, why the Irish are so emotional, and the effect of mustaches on their private lives.

Hugh Grant: Colin.

Colin Farrell: Hugh.

Grant: This is so weird.

Farrell: As I live and breathe, in the flesh.

Grant: So listen, I'm very unhappy about how good you are in "The Lobster."

Farrell: So the rumors I've heard about you are true. You are a fan of schadenfreude.

Grant: That's exactly right. I don't like anyone having any success. You are very good. It's a brilliant film. And tell me how that came about? How, why would [director] Yorgos -

Farrell: Oh I like the way you roll your R's. I don't know if it's correct, but I like it.

Grant: Yeah.

Farrell: Yorgos Lanthimos ... I had seen a film that he did five or six years before. A thing called "Dogtooth." Did you see it?

Grant: I like "Dogtooth."

Farrell: So bizarre, and so disturbing.

Grant: I know. It's given me nightmares.

Farrell: As it should. If it didn't, I'd be worried. But I came out of a cinema in Philadelphia on a Tuesday evening and just was scratching my head thinking, "What kind of level of disturbance does the director and writer of that film experience on a daily basis?" I couldn't believe it, because it was all so meticulously crafted. It was awkward from its very inception obviously. And there was a kind of a logic to how absurd and disturbing the whole world was in "Dogtooth." And I just thought it was brilliant. And then, five years later, I heard from my agent that [Lanthimos] was making his first English-language film, and I thought, well this should be an interesting read. So they sent the script and, I can't quite say that I completely grasped, or still to this day have grasped what's -

Grant: Well I was going to say, what does it mean? I thoroughly enjoyed it. I mean, it's brilliant in every possible way.

Farrell: Thanks. I don't know. What's the film about? I have no -

Grant: Does he talk about that kind of stuff?

Farrell: No. Doesn't want to know.

Grant: OK.

Farrell: About talking to actors.

Grant: Oh really?

Farrell: To annoy Yorgos, you'd say to him, "So what's my character feeling in that scene?" He'd be like, "Ah! Actors!"

Grant: That's how Roman Polanski was. Woody Allen. Stephen Frears.

Farrell: Woody Allen I don't know if he could pick me out of a line-up. And I worked with him.

Grant: Yeah, exactly.

Farrell: Literally, Woody, I did a film with Ewan McGregor, and three days before we started shooting, Woody was given pictures of Ewan and pictures of me in costume and he looked at the shot of Ewan in a suit and he went, "Why is Colin dressed in a suit?" And I was over his shoulder, and I said, "No, Woody, that's Ewan. I'm Colin. How are you?"

Grant: Bloody hell.

Farrell: That was three days before we started shooting. But yeah, Yorgos, he knows who you are, but he doesn't want to know. The world he creates, him and Efthymis [Filippou], his co-writer, is so specific that the worst thing you could do, I think, is imbue them with a contemporary way of speaking and moving, and then you would kind of nullify the extraordinary awkwardness of the worlds that they create.

Grant: Yeah.

Farrell: Anyway, when I read it I just wanted to do it because, have you found the greatest thing as an actor ... is a trust in your director, you know? We've talked about that. Actors talk about it all the time. You know, trusting their choice - not that you always go with them, but that you trust in their single-minded approach and, and their perspective, their opinion on why they're doing something and how to achieve the realization of what they're trying to capture to the fullest of its potential.

Grant: It looks like all the actors - they're all brilliant - but it looks like all the actors have been told, just sort of be quite deadpan. …

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