We're in our robes by the pool, drinking water. The mostly Russian bathers are doing a good impression of not recognizing the photogenically scruffy schvitzer in their midst.

Farrell isn't with either of the mothers of his sons, though everyone gets along. He was married once, to the British actress Amelia Warner. It lasted four glorious months. Or as he puts it: "I had a brief liaison with the notion of permanence."

The problem with monogamy, he believes, is that we make vows for eternity, but change is the human condition.

"I haven't been in a relationship in a while," he says. "Two and a half years since I was with Henry's mother. If I ever do get involved with somebody again, I will try as much as possible to shut my fucking mouth and stay fucking present. Love in action, man! Not love in fucking words."

He recounts a childhood story he's told before but is worth repeating for the sheer sweet wackiness of it. "I've joked about it in interviews, but it's true, no joke. The first time I fell in love was with Marilyn Monroe.

"I left Smarties for her under my pillow."

Smarties, the candy?

"Yeah, Smarties the candy, like M&M's."

Why would she look under your pillow to find candies?

"Because fucking love conquers all! Including the limitations brought about by death 50 years in advance and time—all that quotidian bollocks. With full seriousness and absolute awareness of what my intent was—and a deep, deep abiding hope each night—I left Smarties under my pillow . . . "

Farrell's not joking.

"On my life: It's not some cute story. I had better things to do with my time even when I was a fuck-up than to create stories like this! It was that Christmas when I didn't just see but felt, experienced, and lived through Some Like It Hot. And there was a strength in that 7- or 8-year-old's feelings for Marilyn that was in every promise and every vow that I've made to every woman subsequently."

I mention that both drinking and dalliances can be a kind of hedge against loneliness. "They're not hedges so much as they are curtains," he says without missing a beat. "Hedges are natural, curtains are manmade. And they work until they don't."

What is immensely likable about Farrell is his inability to become jaded and bored.

"I've never seen a moon in the sky that, if it didn't take my breath away, at least misplaced it for a moment," he says, unashamed by his own corny enthusiasms. "When I was living a different way, I was probably profoundly bored. I had moments of elation. Now I never get fucking bored. I get excited about room-service menus! I really do. Even though the french fries are soggy as fuck and I still haven't figured out an exact way to open up that Heinz mini jar—sometimes it's my nails, sometimes it's my teeth. I'm just grateful that I'm actually alive, to be honest. Anytime I have a shit mood, now it's some aspect of me that is present and is feeling whatever I'm feeling, and the same counts if I'm giddy or jocular. It's honest, it's real. That's quite simply the coolest thing. Everything is real now."

At this point we are both really and truly sick of the heat. We start to retreat to the showers. There is talk of making like the Russians and jumping in the icy-cold plunge pool.

"Nah," Colin Farrell says. "I've got to get home to put the lads to bed, and really we don't have anything left to prove."



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From the Archives: Mark Wahlberg