Personal detailsName: Colin Farrell
Born: 31 March 1976 (Age: 37)
Where: Dublin, Ireland
Height: 5' 9"
Awards: Won 1 Golden Globe
All about this star
The rise of film stars is often described as meteoric and, usually, the term's not really accurate. So many have toiled for years as child stars and theatre stalwarts before receiving their big Hollywood break. For Colin Farrell's ascent, though, the word is absolutely apt. Within a mere 3 years of his American movie debut in 2000, he had co-starred alongside Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and Al Pacino (all in different pictures). He'd stolen the show in hit comic-flick Daredevil, and worked with Steven Spielberg, Joel Schumacher and Roger Donaldson. He'd even appeared as Oliver Stone's Alexander the Great. Beyond this, his Devil-may-care attitude to drink, drugs and sex made him the centre of a near-constant tabloid furore. Incredible - from a minor role in a cute Sunday night soap opera to $8 million pay-days in no time at all. Along with Vin Diesel, Farrell was the first new bona fide superstar of the new millennium. And, unlike Diesel's, his star kept rising.
He was born Colin James Farrell in the Castleknock area of Dublin, at the edge of Phoenix Park, on March 31st, 1976. The place was fairly well-to-do, a new money suburb, but Colin came from resolutely working-class stock. His mother Rita's father was a chauffeur, while Colin's father Eamon and his uncle Tommy both played football for Shamrock Rovers. At their Sixties peak they were the Manchester United of Ireland, a crowd of over 30,000 watching them defeat Red Star Belgrade in 1961. Colin was the youngest of four, his brother Eamon now running a performing arts school in Dublin, while sisters Catherine and Claudine have both popped up in Colin's movie productions, Claudine also working as Colin's assistant and companion.
It was Catherine who first drew Colin towards acting. She'd stay up late watching old movies, and her younger brother would sit with her, revelling in the efforts and attitudes of Brando, Newman, Clift and, interestingly, Ernest Borgnine. His first big crush was on Marilyn Monroe. At 8 or 9, totally besotted with the dead goddess, he'd leave some of his precious Smarties under his pillow along with a note inviting her to come down from Heaven to share them with him. Catherine also provided him with his first experience of stage performance when, at age 12, he watched her play Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream. When Eamon Jr took up dance lessons, young Colin was also forced by his mother to attend.
Colin's early ambition, though, was to follow his father into football, and he did show talent. However, Castleknock College, an expensive private establishment to which his parents had sent him to curb his wild ways, was more of a rugby establishment and, anyway, Colin quickly went off the rails, deciding that hard training was far less enjoyable than smoking, drinking and chasing girls. Indeed, he was a pretty naughty lad, being caught shoplifting, smoking joints and, later, driving over the limit, spending a night in the slam for his pains. One of his school reports claimed he was "getting in too many fights".
Being thoroughly uninhibited in interviews, Farrell has revealed much about his wild teens in Dublin. At 15, he's said, he was something of an E-head, barrelling through the city's clubs with his mates, often ending up at Shaft, a gay club with a late licence. It was here that he met an Australian woman, some 20 years his senior, who took him back to her flat, produced a wicker basket filled with 100s of condoms and asked him to choose one. Farewell, then, virginity...
At 16, love hit him for the first time (disregarding the earlier Monroe infatuation), when he fell for Amelia, the young daughter of a Portuguese family in Castleknock. It would end tragically when Colin, a serial fighter and consummate gadabout, had over 20 boys at school after his blood, his parents moving him on to Gormanston boarding school.
This did not prove a solution to the problem. Colin did not react well to the school's stricter discipline. He and his mates were constantly in trouble for skipping classes, spending long lunches drinking at a local pool-hall. Back in the study hall, they'd put on their Walkmans and fall asleep. One day, when he was 17, Colin was grabbed by a supervisor. Instead of submitting to the inevitable punishment, Colin threw him against the nearest wall and threatened him in his usual, spectacularly profane manner. Naturally, he was expelled. He remembers leaving the grounds feeling like a rock star.
Blowing out of school altogether, he continued on his messy way, at 18 spending time in therapy for depression. He found he had plenty to say - "I just vomited for 6 months" - but the therapist, concluding that much of it was down to drink and drugs, simply asked him "You're wondering why you're depressed? Have you read your shopping list?" Hoping to escape his problems, Colin took off for Australia for a year, with friends Steph and Paul. They'd share a one-bedroom flat on Sydney's Taylor Square where Paul would sleep on the couch and Colin would endure Steph's near-nightly habit over throwing his leg over him and calling out for the girlfriend he so missed. When this happened, Farrell would get up and visit nearby gay bar The Judgment, where he'd down a few pints and either read or shoot the breeze with the other lost souls. At one point, in a case of mistaken identity, he'd actually be arrested for murder.