Colin Farrell: Career Curve

Colin Farrell

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Colin Farrell has been a pretty boy, a rising star, a sex-tape star, a drug addict, and has enjoyed a history of haircuts that would make Christopher Walken nod in appreciation. With his new film "London Boulevard" out Friday, let's look back at how we got here.
Farrell first earned acclaim for his role in Joel Schumacher's "Tigerland," playing a solider training to go off to fight in Vietnam. It was a small film that few saw, but those who did recognized his talent and star power.
Just two years later, he landed the part of Witwer, the cop who chases Tom Cruise in Minority Report," Steven Spielberg's sci-fi thriller about a police force that prevents crimes with the help of mute psychics, one of whom was played by Samantha Morton. It was Farrell's first big Hollywood role.
Things got a little hairy for Farrell in 2003, as the burst of fame and money lead to some questionable choices, like "Daredevil" (above), "SWAT" and "The Recruit." The first two managed to break $100 million, but they were poorly received, especially "Daredevil."
The sole artistic success of the year for Farrell was "Phone Booth," a thriller in which he played a publicist trapped in a phone booth by a sniper who promises to kill him if he doesn’t follow orders.
Unfortunately, Farrell's most talked about film of the year was the sex tape he made with then girlfriend, ex Playmate Nicole Narian, which he eventually took her to court over. Not surprisingly, this happened around the same time he was sliding into drug addiction that eventually landed him in rehab.
Only marginally more successful than his sex tape was his swords-and-sandals epic "Alexander," co-starring Angelina Jolie and directed by Oliver Stone. The film was an epic failure both commercially and critically, panned by almost all and barely recouping it's production budget. We won’t even talk about his blond locks.
Despite having done a ton of schlock, Farrell continued to attract serious directors, like Terrence Malick, who cast him as Capt. John Smith in "The New World." Like most Malick films, it divided critics bitterly and did poorly at the box office.
Michael Mann next cast him as Sonny Crockett opposite Jamie Foxx's Ricardo Tubbs in the big-screen adaptation of "Miami Vice," which some consider a guilty pleasure and others consider just guilty.
Woody Allen cast Farrell to play opposite Ewan McGregor in "Cassandra's Dream," as a pair of brothers who agree to commit a murder for hire. The film earned mixed reviews, and did only about $22 million.
Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendijk
Farrell enjoyed a Downey-esque triumphant return to form in 2008 with writer-director Martin McDonagh's black-as-night crime comedy "In Bruges," in which he and Brendan Gleeson played a pair of London gangsters sent to a small Belgian town to hide out. Who knew he was funny?
The next year was a quiet one, as he had a small part as a country music star in "Crazy Heart;" was one of three actors who helped fill the void left in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" (above) by Heath Ledger's death; and starred in the indie fairy tale "Ondine."
EMPTY_CAPTION"The Way Back," based on the true story of a group of escaped POWs who hiked from a Siberian gulag to India, was Farrell's first of 2011. As deeply flawed as it was, the film featured a great performance from Farrell as a Russian gangster. It's too bad no one will see it.
Farrell flexed his comic chops with a small role in "Horrible Bosses," playing a balding, paunchy, coke-fueled, hooker-loving sociopath. In a film packed with comedy veterans, Farrell stole every scene he was in with a gonzo take on what could've been a stock character.
Among the best films inexplicably ignored by audiences this year was Farrell's "Fright Night," in which he gave a great turn as bloodthirsty vampire who's moved in next door to Anton Yelchin. It was funny, it was a little scary, it was smart—and you ignored it.
Now comes writer-director William Monahan's "London Boulevard," in which he stars as an ex-gangster hired as a bodyguard by a reclusive movie star, played by Keira Kightley." As they fall in love, things are complicated when his former associates come calling.
Next up for Farrell is a remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic "Total Recall," in which he stars as a man who begins to suspect that he's a solider in a battle between to rising nation states, but he's unsure which side he's on. We were dead wrong about his "Fright Night" remake, so who are we to doubt this one?
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