Colin Farrell and Clémence Poésy – Love and Death in Bruges
by Jay S. Jacobs
Originally posted on February 8, 2008
After a few years of toiling on big-budget blockbusters that only occasionally took flight – Oliver Stone’s Alexander and Michael Mann’s Miami Vice come to mind – Colin Farrell has definitely downsized for his latest two roles.
Ironically, in both Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges and Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream he plays first time hit-men who have to deal with the fallout of their actions. Farrell is particularly strong in Bruges, the first feature film by maverick playwright McDonagh (The Pillowman, The Lieutenant of Inishmore). Set against the background of the beautiful-but-slightly-disquieting medieval town of Bruges, Belgium, the film is a clever and surreal tragicomedy.
Farrell works for the first time with fellow Irish star Brendan Gleeson. They play Ray and Ken, two hit men who are sent to cool their heels in the town by their bloodthirsty boss (Ralph Fiennes in an extremely sinister extended cameo) after a hit goes horribly wrong. However, despite the fact that Ray is distraught about the botched job, he can’t help but bitch about the town, antagonize locals and tourists, visit the pub religiously and hit on any attractive woman who crosses his path.
Clémence Poésy is a French beauty who has become a star in her homeland with films like Le Dernier Gang, Sans Moi and Le Grand Meaulness. In recent years she has branched out to English language films, doing the TV mini-series War and Peace and having a significant role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Poésy’s role in In Bruges is Chloë, a mysterious woman who may work for a visiting film company, definitely sells drugs, dabbles in crime and completely steals Ray’s heart.
We met up at the Regency Hotel in New York with film stars Farrell and Poésy. The actors were continuing a long day of promotion, puffing on cigarettes and tapping ashes into water cups. (At one point Farrell mistakenly tips it into his own water and Poésy protectively moves the plastic cup away from him). However, no matter how many questions they’d answered that day, both actors smiled brightly and showed an obvious friendship as they fielded queries about working In Bruges.
Colin, how is it possible you have not worked with Brendan Gleeson before?
Colin Farrell: Eh, I’ve just been avoiding him for years. No, I don’t know. I’m a huge fan of his. And, you know, the Irish connection. I’m glad to get to work with him this time. It really just seemed perfect. So perfect. So fortuitous that it was on this piece. And to work so intimately with him. Such close quarters.
Were you fans of Martin’s plays previously?
Clémence Poésy: To be completely honest, I didn’t know them. Believe it or not, he isn’t so big in France. I knew about The Lieutenant of Inishmore.
Colin Farrell: No, completely ignorant to Martin’s plays. I’d been very aware of his success and that kind of a theatrical movement that was very part of his work – all the accolades that had come his way. But I wasn’t familiar with his work. I read The Pillowman, which was genius, but I only read that after meeting. Then we saw a version of (Clémence laughs)… The Lieutenant of Inishmore came to Bruges in a hodge-podge of languages: French, Flemish and English.