Colin Farrell on Tom Cruise’s stunt work: ‘that’s mental illness, that’s not bravery’
If anyone doubts my devotion to Colin Farrell, know that when I was sick, I watched his 2006 Miami Vice. I guess I thought I was sick enough not to care about the plot. He was pretty, though. They all were. Colin gave a Role Recall interview recently. Those are abbreviated career retrospectives in which the actor discusses some of their notable films. Shockingly, Miami Vice was not ‘recalled’ in the list of films they chose. One of the big ones mentioned was Minority Report. I loved Minority Report and haven’t seen it in ages. That’s what I should’ve watched when I was in bed. The film was highlighted in Colin’s interview for a few reasons. Mainly it’s celebrating its 20th anniversary this week. Colin had only recently exploded on the scene after getting acclaim for his performance in Tigerland. Next thing he knew, Steven Spielberg was calling and suggesting Colin star opposite Tom Cruise. It was a heady experience, to be sure. And a memorable one. Colin remembers Tom not only as competitive, but “physically engaged” as well. But Colin doesn’t want to follow in Tom’s footsteps where stunts are concerned. He’s not as impressed by Tom hanging off of airplanes in his films.
Everything changed for Colin Farrell after Tigerland, Joel Schumacher’s 2000 war drama that introduced the early-20-something Irish actor to the world and landed him loud critical acclaim.
“I had these opportunities that were just being thrown at me. It was insane. It was something that I don’t know if you can ever be prepared for the kind of success that was being offered to me so fast, you know?”
One of those opportunities included a chance to work with both Hollywood’s most famous director and its most famous leading man. The Steven Spielberg-directed sci-fi thriller Minority Report, released in theaters 20 years ago on Tuesday, had locked up Tom Cruise to play “precrime” chief John Anderton, who becomes the accused in a futuristic society’s method of arresting people, before they commit a crime, with the help of three psychics known as “precogs.” Matt Damon had a scheduling conflict, and now they needed their antagonist Danny Witwer, agent from Department of Justice.
“I got a call from my agent saying, ‘Steven Spielberg wants to meet you.’ Which was a shocker. You know, ’cause I’d grown up watching Jaws and Close Encounters [of the Third Kind] and Indiana Jones,” Farrell recalled. “And we sat down and we talked, and I shared a sardine sandwich with him, which was enough for me. If I didn’t get the role, just to share a sardine sandwich with Steven Spielberg — I’d nailed the day.”
Farrell was also bowled over by the experience of working with Cruise.
“I was 24 or 25 and it was my third or fourth film, and I was just going ‘What the hell?’ You know, he’s very competitive and very physically engaged,” he said. “I remember him walking on the set and screaming, ‘Are we making an action movie? Then why don’t I hear action?’”
“Did you see the stunts he did on Mission: Impossible where he’s holding onto the side of the plane?,” he asked. “I mean, that’s mental illness. That’s not bravery. I mean, that’s mad.”
Reading this and watching the video of Colin’s interview, I wouldn’t say he was “bowled over” by Tom. I would go so far as to say there was no love lost there. We’ve heard from many actors that Tom is intense, and Colin is not, so it doesn’t surprise me they didn’t mesh on set. Plus, this was Colin’s first big film after just getting a name for himself and Tom had already arrived. And with Tom being “competitive and very physically engaged,” it sounds like they were oil and water together.
As for the stunt work comments, not my favorite phrasing but I agree with the gist of it. I admit I am usually wowed when I hear the stories of Tom’s stunts, but my second thought is always, “why?!” What does he have to prove? It has to be for himself because we stopped caring if it’s really Tom or a stunt person. Plus, stunt work is someone’s job, why not let them do it? I seriously wonder how much it costs to insure Tom at this point. But it does seem like there is something inside Tom that propels him to do these outrageous feats and it has nothing to do with us, the audience. So maybe Colin is on to something. Of course, this is from a man who endured a makeup chair for four hours every day for total of less than 15 minutes of screen time in a three-hour movie, so they all have their quirks, you know?
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