colin farrell*Colin Farrell (pictured), who stars in this week’s “Winter’s Tale” with Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Will Smith, Eva Marie Saint and Jessica Brown Findlay, was at the Crosby Hotel recently—along with director Akiva Goldsman and cast mates—to promote the film.

Whenever I’m asked who are some my favorite interviewees, Farrell is always among them. He is cordial, open and not pretentious. Back in early 2000 when Colin was the bad boy wild card and every other word of his had to be censored, I often wondered what the big deal about him was that had the media beholden to him.

Then, in 2003, 20th Century Fox flew me to Los Angeles to interview him, the beloved Michael Clark Duncan and Ben Affleck for “Daredevil.” Sitting at a table with more than 10 men and I was the only female among these overzealous fanboys, the purpose of the roundtable lost its meaning when every time I tried to ask a question, it was drowned out by several other men trying to ask a question at the same time. Farrell, sensing how it had gotten out of hand and realizing I was not there to hang out with him but to cover a story just like the rest of the guys at the table turned to me during the shouting match and said, “What was that, Love?” Okay, at that point it all made sense why he had charmed his way into many hearts, and not just because he’s a pretty face with a rep.

With this being Black History Month it should be noted that Farrell stars in an important film that focuses on racism in the military. “Hart’s War” also stars Terrence Howard and Vicellous Reon Shannon as Tuskegee Airmen. The ad used to publicize that 2002 movie used Bruce Willis, but the story targeted Farrell (Lt. Thomas Hart), who sided with Howard (Lt. Lincoln A. Scott), accused of killing a racist Sergeant.

The last time The Film Strip spoke to Farrell was for “Epic” where he was the voice of General Ronin, assigned to protect Queen Tara (Beyonce). That story dealt with good versus evil and when asked about the quote, “The good guys need all the help they can get,” he explained to me “Bad guys don’t think about anyone else and they have one common goal; and the common goal has nothing to do with the common good of the people. They are single minded and anyone who is good, compassionate or cares about somebody else [is constantly under attack].”

The battle of good and evil continues to wage but in “Winter’s Tale,” love is the winner. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, Collin was asked if love is overrated and if Valentine’s Day is a viable holiday to see how he would defend love. He told me love wasn’t overrated but Valentine’s Day is a hoax. “Love is definitely not overrated, but possibly the importance of it is underrated because of how its prevalence in a single person’s life and the life of a shared community can be impacted to make incredible changes that can promote the idea of peace and harmony,” he explained. “I think love is the [he starts singing] ‘All you need is love’ [laughs]. No, I mean it really is. It is the one thing, it seems, that defines us as human beings, our ability to care for each other, our ability to demonstrate through acts of compassion, a concern for your fellow man.

And Valentine’s Day, I don’t even know what that’s about, really. I mean, it’s an excuse. I think it’s whatever you make it. You know some people put up a Christmas tree [laughs] and other people do whatever. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with flowers and chocolate covered Maraschino cherries but it would be nice if it didn’t take such a kind of publicly promoted or commercially promoted holiday for people to extend themselves in gestures of love. But, I think it’s really what makes it all spin, you know.”

Beverly (Findlay) had Peter (Farrell) going in circles their love affair drew him to the role. “Peter wasn’t looking for love and all of a sudden this world opens up to him and his former existence, self-preservation and the defensive energy he has had to carry with him through life sort of begins to crumble and fade away,” he says. “And for me, this path of love and light was the most important element of the film.”

Ninety-year-old veteran actress Eva Marie Saint was queried about what she enjoyed most about doing “Winter’s Tale,” and her response was, “Colin Farrell,” prompting Farrell to say, “I was partial to Eva Marie Saint as well,” and she quipped, “Write that down.” Of love being overrated, Saint thought the question was a great opportunity to also champion love. “I think love kept me really going in my life. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this life without someone to really love me and I love him, my children and grandchildren. I’ve been married almost 63 years to the love of my life, and if I don’t know love my now, I never will. Love is very forgiving to one another and your friends. It’s a powerful emotion and my favorite emotion in life.”

Jennifer Connelly chimed in on love by saying, “I mean, there’s nothing that I’ve experienced that’s more magical and powerful than love. I think in this film, love is capable of bending time and shaping the physical universe. I think that that’s really special.” There is definitely no love lost for Will Smith’s character who takes ownership of a role we have never seen him in before. Goldsman’s decision to cast Smith was quite simple, “Will’s a friend and I needed the devil and I said to him, ‘What do you think?’ And he said, ‘Sure.’”

With the last word on this fairy tale for adults and what he identifies most with in his character, Farrell concluded with, “I think he just kind of solidifies the suspicion that I already had. I think I’m okay with life being defined more by mystery than by certainty ‘cause certainty has done noting but get me in a lot of trouble in my life.”

Marie Moore is a syndicated veteran entertainment journalist who reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]