Birthdate: May 31, 1976
Birthplace: Castleknock, Dublin, Ireland
Colin Farrell (birthname: Colin James Farrell) is one of the most galvanizing and engaging Irish film actors of his generation, working with many of the major contemporary filmmakers, including Yorgos Lanthimos, Steven Spielberg, Terrence Malick, Liv Ullmann, Michael Mann, Neil Jordan, Danis Tanovic, Terry Gilliam, Peter Weir, Sofia Coppola, Steve McQueen, Tim Burton, Kogonada, Matt Reeves, and Martin McDonagh.
Farrell’s screen debut was in director Tim Roth’s feature debut, The War Zone (1999), with Ray Winstone and Tilda Swinton. After co-starring with Kevin Spacey and Linda Fiorentino in the crime movie, Ordinary Decent Criminals (2000), Farrell was cast in his first starring role in director Joel Schumacher’s Vietnam War drama, Tigerland (2000), with Shea Whigham, Clifton Collins Jr., and Cole Hauser.
Colin Farrell starred again in the poorly received Western, American Outlaws (2001), with Scott Caan, Ali Larter, Kathy Bates, and Timothy Dalton, followed by a co-starring role with Bruce Willis in the WWII drama, Hart’s War (2002), another box-office bomb.
Farrell’s remarkable rise as a star continued with a co-starring role opposite Tom Cruise in Spielberg’s sci-fi thriller, Minority Report (2002), with Samantha Morton and Max von Sydow, earning $358 million worldwide. Farrell received his first above-the-title status with his second movie under Schumacher’s direction, Phone Booth (2002), with Forest Whitaker, Katie Holmes, and Kiefer Sutherland, and its hit box office ($97 million) firming up Farrell’s star status. Farrell had another solid box-office performer ($101 million) with The Recruit (2003), co-starring Al Pacino.
After playing support to Ben Affleck in the 20th Century Fox superhero movie, Daredevil (2003), Colin Farrell flexed his action muscles in the film version of the T.V. cop show, S.W.A.T. (2003), grossing $207 million, and co-starring Samuel L. Jackson, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, and Jeremy Renner. Farrell led the ensemble of the Michael Cunningham tale (based on his book), A Home at the End of the World (2004), with Robin Wright, Dallas Roberts, and Sissy Spacek, with Farrell earning a Best Actor nomination from the Irish Film Awards.
Although it marked Farrell’s first starring role (with Val Kilmer and Angelina Jolie) in an epic—Oliver Stone’s Alexander (2004)—the film was critically panned and had box office returns ($167 million) that barely matched its costs. The same was somewhat the case with Colin Farrell starring in Terrence Malick’s Jamestown epic, The New World (2005), with Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, Wes Studi, and Q’orianka Kilcher, though critics eventually came around to acknowledge the film’s excellence.
Farrell co-starred with Jamie Foxx in Michael Mann’s mildly praised feature version of Miami Vice (2006), which again barely grossed its budget number of $135 million. Farrell co-starred with Salma Hayek in the only movie written and directed by Robert Towne (with Tom Cruise as a producer), Ask the Dust (2006), based on John Fante’s classic novel, followed Farrell working with Woody Allen as a star in the sibling drama, Cassandra’s Dream (2007), with Ewan McGregor, Sally Hawkins, and Tom Wilkinson. Farrell played opposite Edward Norton in writer-director Gavin O’Connor’s NYPD drama, Pride and Glory (2008), with Jon Voight, and Noah Emmerich, which was hurt by a delayed release and poor reviews.
Colin Farrell joined forces with writer-director Martin McDonagh and co-star Brendan Gleeson (with Ralph Fiennes in support) for the caustic crime comedy, In Bruges (2008), premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. Farrell was nominated for Best Actor at the Irish Film and Television Awards for writer-director Neil Jordan’s romance, Ondine (2009), with Alicja Bachleda and Stephen Rea, premiering at the Toronto Film Festival.
Farrell’s first movie as star-executive producer was writer-director Danis Tanović’s war correspondent drama, Triage (2009), with Paz Vega and Christopher Lee, followed by a rare supporting role in writer-director Scott Cooper’s acclaimed music drama, Crazy Heart (2009), with Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Robert Duvall, and grossing seven times ($47 million worldwide) its costs. Colin Farrell continued his supporting gig in Terry Gilliam’s sprawling fantasy opus, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), with a large cast including Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer, Andrew Garfield, Tom Waits, Johnny Depp, and Jude Law and premiering out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
Farrell’s pattern of working with world-class filmmakers continued with his co-starring role in Peter Weir’s Soviet-era saga, The Way Back (2010), with Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, and Saoirse Ronan, followed by a starring role in writer-director William Monahan’s crime movie, London Boulevard (2010), with Keira Knightley and Ray Winstone. In the unexpected hit black comedy, Horrible Bosses (2011), Farrell co-starred with Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston, with support from Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Donald Sutherland, and Jamie Foxx.
Jumping into the horror genre, Farrell sparred with the late Anton Yelchin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Toni Collette in the well-received Fright Night (2011), and then starred in the far more disappointing remake of Total Recall (2012), with Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho, and Bill Nighy.
Colin Farrell reunited with Martin McDonagh (but without Brendan Gleeson) for the dark crime comedy, Seven Psychopaths (2012), with the strong cast of Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and Christopher Walken, earning Farrell another Best Actor nomination from the Irish Film and Television Awards. After the disappointing Niels Arden Oplev-directed thriller, Dead Man Down (2013), with Noomi Rapace, Farrell had the lead voice in the Blue Sky Studios/20th Century Fox animated movie, Epic (2013), grossing $268 million worldwide.
Farrell shifted to a subdued supporting role in Disney’s fine making-of-Mary Poppins movie, Saving Mr. Banks (2013), with Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, and Ruth Wilson, but then starred in the box-office and critical failure, Winter’s Tale (2014), written and directed by Akiva Goldsman. Liv Ullmann was the next major international writer-director to work with Colin Farrell, on her adaptation (relocated to Ireland) of August Strindberg’s drama, Miss Julie (2014), starring Jessica Chastain and Samantha Morton.
In his first film with Greek writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos (working in English for the first time), Farrell joined an impressive cast for the absurdist Cannes-competing, The Lobster (2015), including Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman, Lea Seydoux, and Ben Whishaw. Entering the world of J.K. Rowling, Farrell played opposite Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Morton, Ezra Miller, and Carmen Ejogo in the $814 million-grossing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), and then rejoined Lanthimos for the disturbing film in competition at Cannes, The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017), with Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, and Bill Camp. In an otherwise all-female cast, Farrell worked under Sofia Coppola’s direction in the remake of The Beguiled (2017), again in the Cannes competition, and again with Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning.
Playing opposite lead star Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell worked with writer-director Dan Gilroy on the Los Angeles-set drama, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017), then worked in director-writer Steve McQueen’s impressive ensemble for the crime-revenge drama, Widows (2018), with Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Robert Duvall, and Liam Neeson. Director Tim Burton’s ambitious but failed live-action version of Disney’s Dumbo (2019) was the next starring assignment for Farrell, with Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, and Alan Arkin.
Colin Farrell joined a more successful project as part of the ensemble of writer-director Guy Ritchie’s crime comedy, The Gentlemen (2019), earning five times ($115 million globally) its budget, co-starring Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, and Hugh Grant. Farrell reunited with Jessica Chastain for the action thriller, Ava (2020), which managed a small theatrical release during the COVID pandemic, featuring the eclectic cast of John Malkovich, Common, Geena Davis, Ioan Gruffudd, and Joan Chen, and then followed up with the box-office bomb, writer-director Neil Burger’s sci-fi drama, Voyagers (2021), in which Farrell played support to Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, and Fionn Whitehead.
Farrell stayed in the sci-fi realm, to much better effect, as the star of writer-director Kogonada’s poignant After Yang (2021), with Jodie Turner-Smith and Haley Lu Richardson. In Matt Reeves’ ambitious, acclaimed re-envisioning of The Batman (2022), Farrell played support in a brawny cast including Robert Pattinson as the titular superhero, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, and Andy Serkis, and earning $770 million worldwide.
Following the briefly seen (in theaters) Ron Howard-directed true-life drama, Thirteen Lives (2022), Farrell reunited with Brendan Gleeson and filmmaker Martin McDonagh in the widely praised Irish drama, The Banshees of Inisherin (2022), for which Farrell won the Best Actor Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival.
Colin Farrell was born and raised in the Dublin, Ireland suburb of Castleknock. His parents are Eamon and Rita Farrell, and his siblings are Eamon Jr., Catherine, and Claudine (who now works as Farrell’s personal assistant).
Farrell attended St. Brigid’s National School, the private boys’ school Castleknock College, and Gormanston College. While studying drama at Gaiety School of Acting, Farrell dropped out when he was cast in the BBC-TV series, Ballykissangel, in 1998.
Farrell has been in several relationships, including actor/singer Amelia Warner, and Britney Spears, models Nicole Narain and Kim Bordenave, actors Elizabeth Taylor, Angelina Jolie, Maeve Quinlan, Demi Moore, and Alicja Bachleda-Curus; medical student Muireann McDonnell, and writer Emma Forrest (who wrote extensively about their relationship in her memoir, Your Voice in My Head). Farrell has two sons by two different women: James Padraig Farrell and Henry Tadeusz Farrell. Farrell’s height is 5’ 10”. Farrell’s estimated net worth is $80 million.
Conditions: Colin Farrell has suffered from insomnia, and has battled drug and painkiller addiction.
Causes: Farrell has worked for the anti-bullying cause on several fronts, including support for the Irish LGBTQ group BeLonG’s Stand Up! The campaign, and has been a spokesman for the Special Olympics and the Homeless World Cup.