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Once an Irish Lad, Always an Irish Lad

Even after co-starring with Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell sees no need to change his plain-spoken ways.


NEW YORK — Colin Farrell, the Irish hunk du jour whose half-clad torso currently graces the cover of Vanity Fair, looks a little out of character today. The young actor, who's been described as the next Brad Pitt, is sporting a shaved head that makes him look more like the next Andre Agassi. And what about those filthy, flapping boots?

"Oh, these are grubbers," says Farrell, 26, as he lovingly strokes an instep. "I bought them secondhand for $25." A long time ago.

"They've been resoled dozens of times. Now, just because I have $2.5 million from 'Hart's War' I should buy new shoes?"

Some would. But not Farrell, whose determination to remain a plain-spoken Dubliner has already attracted attention in Hollywood. It's not just his work, although he plays confidently with Tom Cruise in Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report." It's his personality. And, frankly, his liquid intake.

Farrell sips a beer and laughs. "Everyone's latching onto this idea that I'm an Oliver Reed in the making. I have two beers at lunch and all of a sudden it's 'Ooh! You're a bad boy!' "

He's not bad; he's just an Irish lad. The Vanity Fair piece was basically a Dublin pub crawl with Farrell, marked by its subject's fondness for a certain Anglo-Saxon word.

"I just read it, and I thought, am I this much of a ... drunk?"

Well, there was that day on the "Minority Report" set when Farrell had to do 34 takes of one line.

"Yes, but it wasn't the result of being lazy or lack of preparation," he says. But he was hung over. It was the day after his 25th birthday. Besides, the line was a bad one. Farrell recites it: " 'I'm sure you understand the fundamental paradox of pre-crime methodology.' Who is going to understand that?"

Farrell grew up athletic with three siblings in a Dublin suburb, and horsed around until his brother persuaded him to try drama school. A part on the "very Oirish" soap "Ballykissangel" followed. After "Minority Report," in which he plays an ambitious bureaucrat named Witwer, there are three more movies this year.

But now it's nap time. After the "Minority Report" debut party in Manhattan, he stayed up in a little cafe to watch the Japan-South Korea soccer match until 6 a.m. Farrell yawns, and sprawls out on his hotel room bed, still talking.

About Queen Elizabeth II: "God bless the old bird."

About doing some death scenes: " ... letting death come to you, finding your way to the stopping of your pulse."

About his workout regimen: "Oh, God, I'd better get me hands on something."

Something, like Amstel and Camel lights.


Susan Stewart writes about movies and television from New York.

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