Being hungover isn’t fun. Being hungover when you have to go to work is especially dreadful. But being brutally hungover and having to go to work on a major Hollywood motion picture is just a recipe for disaster. Actor Colin Farrell found out as much on the set of the 2002 film Minority Report, when he had to go to work the day after his 25th birthday celebration. Colin Farrell recalled the experience saying:
There were a couple of hairy days. I asked them with a great array of arrogance that they not work me the day after my birthday. I said, ‘Please don’t have me working on June 1st, because my birthday is May 31st.’ I thought a 100 million dollar film would at least listen to that request... but I worked.
Well, in his defense, he did try to warn them that he would be in no shape to film on June 1st. In hindsight, Colin Farrell admits the ludicrous and arrogant nature of this request, that a massive Hollywood movie with a schedule to keep to and a vast array of people working on it would move things around, potentially costing valuable time and money, just because he wanted to get wrecked for his birthday.
Colin Farrell did his best to get out of it, though as you might expect, the request of the 25-year-old actor was not honored and he indeed went to work on June 1st, as he told Mirror.
He didn’t want to have to come to work in a dilapidated state, so he asked to have the day off. When that didn’t work, did he choose not to party or take things a bit easier knowing he had work in the morning? No, no he didn’t. He had the pre-cognitive sight to know it wouldn’t turn out well, but couldn’t stop himself.
Colin Farrell elaborated on what the hairy day after his birthday was like on the Minority Report set, saying:
It was a rough night and I didn’t get any sleep. The line was, ‘I’m sure you’ve all grasped the fundamental paradoxical pre-crime methodology’. I only know it now, still, 16 years later because it caused so much panic and anxiety. It should be on my tombstone. My sister was on the set that day and she had to leave the set after 56 takes. I was a disaster.
The combination of a rough night of birthday indulgences and no sleep resulted in Colin Farrell needing 56 takes to deliver one line in the film. One line. Steven Spielberg already has Oscars to his name, but he might be eligible for an honorary one here for having saintly patience as one of his young stars struggled through his lines to the tune of dozens of takes because he was irresponsibly hungover.
With the alliteration and the sequence of big words, you can see how Colin Farrell’s line as Danny Witwer in the film could be a bit of a tongue-twister to begin with. But if it was difficult to say before, Colin Farrell upped the difficulty by being completely hungover. Ironically, Javier Bardem could have starred as Danny Witwer in Minority Report, but he felt his English wasn't good enough at the time.
This resulted in what surely was an incredibly awkward and cringe-inducing scene where the actor struggled take after take to deliver the line. It practically sounds like it was scripted for a comedy with Colin Farrell’s sister being present on set that day and having to watch her brother go through that.
The result of all those takes and the trauma they caused is that Colin Farrell still remembers the line to this day. Well, basically anyways, as far as I can tell the line used in the final film was actually “I’m sure you all understand the legalistic drawback to pre-crime methodology.”
Actor Colin Farrell has been quite open over the years about his struggles with drugs and alcohol, and although the 56 take disaster on Minority Report was bad, he says that it was one of the only instances where his lifestyle affected his work.
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