As Corona Round Six arrives at the table, Farrell turns the conversation to his upcoming movie, The New World, a historical epic directed by Terrence Malick about the founding of Jamestown, America’s first permanent English settlement. Farrell plays John Smith, a “soldier of fortune” who led the three-boat expedition to what is today Virginia. The experience led Farrell to some deep thoughts about nation-building.
“I don’t think America has looked to its past, has accepted how it was born,” Farrell says. “I was asked by the Virginia Council of Heritage or whatever to go on camera for the celebration of the 400-year anniversary, to say, ‘Congratulations, America.’ I was like, ‘Are you fucking kidding me? Do you know what story I’m in the middle of telling? The story of this culture that was damned, slaughtered, raped, pillaged of everything they fucking believed.’ I couldn’t do it. There’s too much blood. The cards aren’t all on the table.”
That sort of passion is the reason many people in Hollywood think Farrell’s best acting days are still ahead of him.
“As young as he is, he’s an extraordinary leading man,” says Christopher Plummer, Farrell’s costar in New World. “He’s a throwback to a time when leading men were men. Now it’s a parade of boys.”
As the afternoon fades away, Farrell seems in no hurry to return to his hotel—or end the conversation. He lets his mind and mouth wander over a variety of topics, from politics to Christianity—for which he has little use, at least in its organized form. “Man,” he says suddenly, realizing that a sizable portion of the population might not really give a shit what an actor on a bar stool thinks about God or America. “I say all this with no vindictiveness. I’m Irish and I don’t believe that we’re better than anyone.”
And as long as the parts keep coming and the bars stay open, Colin Farrell has no reason to think differently.