Interview: Martin McDonagh and Colin Farrell of 'Seven Psychopaths'
On bleak boozing and bloody violence ...
After a string of acclaimed plays, Martin McDonagh made the jump to film with "In Bruges," a film aided substantially by the sterling acting work of Colin Farrell. With 'Seven Psychopaths," the two reunited -- with Farrell even playing a blocked screenwriter named 'Martin" -- and get even crazier from there. We spoke with Ferrell and McDonagh in Toronto about 'Seven Psychopaths," mocking movie violence while enjoying it, and much more.
MSN Movies: Mr. McDonagh, this film's a lot about Hollywood. Mr. Farrell plays a screenwriter named Martin who's writing a film called "Seven Psychopaths." Do you think to yourself, "I could've worked a little bit harder? I could've put a bit more distance between me and the work?"
Martin McDonagh: Different name, different level of…
McDonagh: No. I thought I'd just put my cards on the table and…
Colin Farrell: (Laughs)
All kidding aside, were the script's stabs at Hollywood in part inspired by your going through the belly of a beast after the success of "In Bruges"?
McDonagh: Not really. I think that there are a bunch of red herrings I think thrown in like in the name of the characters that way to some extent. No, like I was happy with the process, but I think it does explore a questioning that I have about violence in films and what that kind of stuff is there to achieve. So I think it's maybe Colin's character thinks along the same lines as me as regards to that ...
Mr. Farrell, in terms of researching to play a blocked writer and a heavy drinker, this is not an extensive amount of research. You're not going to Juilliard to learn how to play the piano.
Farrell: No, no. that's true.
You just look frustrated and…
Farrell: No, but drama school is a good place to learn how to drink.
Well, you know, it's kind of well known drama school is high school with ashtrays.
Farrell: Right, right, right. Especially in France.
How satisfying is it to make a film that simultaneously works as this parody of and commentary on violent entertainment but still has buckets of blood and lots of the old crimson?
Farrell: I mean that's more of a testament to the quality of the writer director and the fortitude that he has to display and did display in the editing room as well because he left 15 percent, maybe more, of the footage on the ground. So he was very judicious but mercenary with what he put and how he formed the story. For me, my part didn't felt very linear and taking care of what I was in I didn't treat the story or experienced this story in the meta way in telling it, acting it as I did when I was even reading it. You start off, you read something, you objectify it, and you get to objectify it less and less and less until you're a subject of it. And so in this, I mean I know now from seeing it last night, I do feel that with all the violence and with all the irreverence and all the un-PC and kind of insane language -- beautiful language -- but profanity in it, it's a really sweet film, but it is about the perils of violence, and it's about trying to find a way out of violence and seems to be about ideas of friendship and putting ghosts to rest. And so it's kind of like he criticizes something by showing it in its most brutal form and then kind of subjugates that by showing what exists beneath it and the cost of all the act.
And Mr. McDonagh, just so that you might reflect a little bit of a praise back after Mr. Farrell's graciousness, is it a good stroke of luck finding a cast you could hit the perfect tone in every scene between abject terror and goofy hilarity?
McDonagh: Yeah. Well I think if you hire seven perfect brilliant actors they're going to hit all those notes, is the thing. I can say they're very honest about everything. We were very ... honest when we did "Bruges" and it's the same way as this.
Farrell: It's a love-fest, baby!
For more on "Seven Psychopaths," watch our on-camera interview with the cast and creator.