A Minute With: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson on ‘Banshees of Inisherin’

By Hanna Rantala

LONDON (Reuters) – Fourteen years after “In Bruges”, filmmaker Martin McDonagh has brought Irish actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson back together for male friendship and break-up comedy-drama “The Banshees of Inisherin”.

    Set and filmed on an island off the west coast of Ireland, “The Banshees of Inisherin” tells the story of great friends Padraic (Farrell) and Colm (Gleeson). However Colm unexpectedly ends their friendship, delivering an ultimatum should the former bother him.

Reuters spoke to Farrell, Gleeson and McDonagh about the film. Below are edited excerpts.

Q: It’s a story about male friendship, how rare is it to get to explore that on screen?  

Farrell: “It’s not so much the friendship, it’s the break-up, the severity of the break-up and the consequences of the break-up and lives in ruination…The confusion of it and the inability to accept it.”

    Gleeson: “It’s the emotional consequences of being dumped and of having to dump something that was central to who you were.”

Question: Where did this story come from?

McDonagh: “I always wanted to get Colin and Brendan back together to do something, but to do something quite different to ‘In Bruges’… something a little stranger, maybe a little sadder, hopefully equally funny.”

Q: What was it like knowing Martin wrote these parts for you specifically? You can’t really turn it down, can you?

Gleeson: “First time I ever saw the first iteration, I said ‘what have I done?’ It’s like, why do you want me to be this is cruel, what have I done to you?”

    Farrell: “I knew it was going to be sad. That’s the simplest way to call it.”

Q: Was it your intention to have the island be a character of the film too?

McDonagh: “To show Ireland and the west coast, especially as a character, was very important, to make it really beautiful, too, was very important. I think maybe as the film goes on, it’s a little less beautiful and a little more claustrophobic etc. But there’s a beauty in that too…A lot of people after ‘In Bruges’ went to Bruges afterwards. I hope maybe people will go to the west coast after this.”

(Reporting by Hanna Rantala; Editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Angus MacSwan)