"Ondine," Colin Farrell’s labor of love
What a difference two years can make. The Colin Farrell who bounded into the Parker Meridian in 2010 looked happy, healthy and contented with his lot. He was a new man.
What may surprise you to discover is that like some other world famous actors, in person Farrell is actually quite shy and unassuming. He puts a brave face on things, but he doesn’t enjoy the promotional side of filmmaking and the often admittedly superficial questions that many journalists ask him.
At one point, when almost no one’s looking, he puts his face in his hands and grimaces at the absurdity of it all. He doesn’t want to offend anyone, but he’s not going to answer a question he thinks is undignified. That’s the Colin Farrell we all know and love.
As Farrell himself readily admits, working on "Ondine" was a life changing experience. As well as reacquainting him with his own talent and his love of filmmaking, it also introduced him to his real life partner, the gorgeous Polish actress Alicja Bachleda, who plays the title role in the film and is now also the mother of his six-month-old son Henry.
“Syracuse was the first character I ever had a hard time letting go of,” Farrell tells the Irish Voice, and you can hear the sincerity in his tone.
“And this film was one of the hardest accents I’ve had to do especially because I felt a national obligation not to f--- it up. To make good again, you know? The local papers said I did all right.”
It’s ironic that he plays a fisherman in "Ondine" because, he says, he can barely swim.
“My mother and sisters are good swimmers, my sister Claudine was a like a tadpole since she was born, but I could never swim,” he admits.
Farrell is also dismissive of anyone who thinks that "Ondine" is just a "Splash" remake. First of all, Ondine is a selkie (a half woman, half seal) and that, he says, is an altogether different Irish take on the classic myth.
“Ondine is a seal woman, a beautiful creature with lovely hair that you can’t help falling in love with,” says Jordan.
“They appear, they make you fall in love with them, they mess you up and then go back to the sea. Just like a real woman,” says Farrell.
“My character Syracuse comes from a small town and he’s given love a chance once and it resulted in a dissolved marriage. He equated love to loss, in all aspects of his life. His mother has just recently passed, his seven-year-old daughter is very ill, and yet he’s not filled with self-pity.”
Farrell clearly loves the magic realist elements of the film, too.
“Syracuse meets Ondine when he catches her in his nets. He doesn’t meet her in the pub or over a nice portion of fish and chips as so often happens romantically in Ireland on a Friday night. You know, ‘G’is your number love and I’ll text ya.’
“Ondine brings something back into his life that he’d stopped believing in. That reinsertion of love into his life is what she brings.”
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