Sundance: Colin Farrell And Brendan Gleeson Talk In Bruges

By Kelly West 2008-01-19 03:22:20discussion comments
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After the Sundance Jury press conference, Leanne and I stuck around the gallery because we heard that the writer/director of the festival’s opening film, In Bruges, Martin McDonagh and some of the cast were coming in for a press conference. Our photographer Leanne claimed with some certainty that she'd seen Colin Farrell walk by the press room earlier and she was right because both he and actor Brendan Gleeson were present at the conference.

Before I get to what they actually talked about, let me just give you my general impressions of Gleeson and Farrell. To me, there are two roles that I associate with Brendan Gleeson and both of them have to do with his eyes. Anyone who saw 28 Days Later will remember Gleeson’s character turning into a zombie after a drop of infected blood lands in his eye. Definitely memorable but at the same time, totally gross and kind of sad, considering the character was very likable prior to being zombified. The other eye-association comes from one of Gleeson’s more recent roles, which requires him to wear a whirling glass eye. As a fan of all things Harry Potter, I’m pretty sure that I will forever associate (at least partially) Gleeson with his role as Mad-Eye Moody in the last two Harry Potter films.

As for Farrell, he really does have that dirty-hot thing going on. He wore a hat through the first half of the conference but after removing it, he would occasionally run his fingers through his grown-out hair. His face was as always, covered with stubble, giving him a sort of unclean (though definitely not unattractive) rugged manly look.

As it was just Gleeson, Farrell and McDonagh at the table for this conference, the whole thing felt a bit more laid back than the Jury press conference we covered before it. The three discussed several aspects of the movie, which is a dark comedy about two Irish hitmen who get into some trouble on a job and have to lay low for a few days in the city of Bruges, Belgium while everything gets sorted out.

Based on what was said, it seems Gleeson and Farrell both appreciate McDonagh’s style of writing with regards to the characters in this movie. Gleeson discussed the level of humanity among the characters for a bit but what I found most interesting was the discussion they had about how unpolitically-correct a lot of the dialogue is in the movie. I haven’t seen it yet but apparently the way the characters behave and some of the things that they say (particularly Farrell) are a bit off-color. McDonagh talked about freedom of expression and how it doesn’t really mix with political correctness but added that freedom of expression is one of the things that makes this country great.

Farrell added on to that by saying that there’s an enormous level of honesty in terms of how the characters behave. He describes his own character in the film as “one little man who has a certain view of the world and calls it like he sees it.” And of the characters in the film in general, he says “You feel that they’re the same in every fuckin’ crowd.” He elaborates on that by talking about how people put on different masks when they’re spending time with different crowds of people (like how a guy will act different around his girlfriend than he will around his friends) and that the characters in this film aren’t concerned with social masks. He adds to that by saying that while this makes them vulnerable for putting themselves out there, there’s also something very liberating about it.

I really enjoyed Farrell and McDonagh’s commentary on the realism of the characters and their decision to not clean up the dialogue for the sake of making the movie more PC. We live in a very sensitive world and I can understand why some people might prefer movies to only portray characters who don’t display an ounce of ignorance and bigotry. Maybe they think it sets a better example of how people should behave even if it’s not how they really would in real life but for someone like McDonagh, who seems to aspire to create genuine characters with real personalities that mirror realistic people as much as possible, I can definitely respect his choice to side with freedom of expression over political correctness.

As you might expect, while I was up front recording audio Leanne was all over Colin with her camera. Oh and I think she took pictures of some of the others too. Here's a few of her images to give you an idea of what we walked into this morning:
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