Colin Farrell is generally considered to be one of Hollywood more prominent performers, switching off between blockbusters like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and smaller productions like The Lobster. But back in the early 2000s, he was still building up to becoming an A-list performer, and one of the movies that served as another step towards that goal was Minority Report. But had director Steven Spielberg gotten his original choice for Danny Witwer, it would have been Javier Bardem co-starring with Tom Cruise instead of Farrell.
While delivering a master class at the Toronto Film Festival (via THR), Javier Bardem recalled that when he first met Steven Spielberg more than 15 years ago, he was "star struck." However, at the time Bardem also believed he wasn't ready to join Minority Report, and thus the role ended up going to Colin Farrell. But Bardem added that he's much more comfortable joining these kinds of movies nowadays, saying:
Now I can, because I've done those roles. But at the time, it was difficult for me to jump into a foreign language performance. My English is better now. You may not believe it, but it's better.
Back when Minority Report was putting together its main cast, Javier Bardem was primarily known for his Academy Award-nominated performance as Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls. So he'd already proven himself to be a talented performer, but at that stage of his career, he didn't believe he was ready to start venturing into blockbuster territory. Bardem would still leave a mark on 2002 through the movies The Dancer Upstairs and Mondays in the Sun. In the years since Minority Report's release, Bardem has collected blockbuster credits through Skyfall and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. He's also set to play Frankenstein's Monster in Universal's Dark Universe franchise.
Loosely based on the short story of the same name written by Phillip K. Dick, Minority Report took place in the year 2054 and followed a society where law enforcement was able to anticipate crimes before they happen thanks to the precogs, who could visualize the future. Colin Farrell's Danny Witwer led the manhunt against Tom Cruise's John Anderton when the precogs predicted that the latter would commit a murder. Before Minority Report, Colin Farrell had appeared in movies like American Outlaws and Hart's War, but the Steven Spielberg flick was an important stepping stone for his career. Minority Report earned near critical acclaim upon its release, and Fox revived the property two years ago with a sequel TV series, though it was quickly cancelled.