What connects Colin Farrell to Sex and the City and a pint of plains? | Culture

troubled men

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson star with Kerry Condon in The Banshees of Inisherin… Photography: Aliyah

Tough Irish, come together: 14 years after Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson bickered in Bruges, they reunited with director Martin McDonagh for The Banshees of Inisherin, a “macabre dark comedy of toxic male pride”. No change there, then. After American stays, McDonagh revisits a place of the 1920s in the west of Ireland closer to the first plays that made his name.

house rules

Brendan Gleeson
…Gleeson played Donald Trump in The Comey Rule… Photography: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

There are many directions to take from here: Gleeson’s acting sons Domhnall and Brian; McDonagh’s partner, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, but let’s stick with Brendan himself. Before turning professional, he was a teacher at Belcamp College in Dublin: the school was housed in a Georgian mansion by Irish architect James Hoban, famous for designing the White House, where Gleeson was installed in the role of Donald Trump in the Showtime miniseries The Comey Rule.


Mariel Hemingway
…which will be released next year is Comey’s Central Park West, sadly unrelated to the Darren Star soap opera, whose cast included Mariel Hemingway… Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

We prefer to forget the great agent James Comey, but he will not leave. Its pivot to fiction with its Central Park West crime debut is expected next year. This, alas, has no connection to Central Park West, Darren Star’s flop soap opera that preceded Sex and the City, and is best remembered for a cast that included John Barrowman, Lauren Hutton, Raquel Welch and Mariel Hemingway.


Liv Ullman
…Mariel’s grandfather was Ernest, whose For Whom the Bell Tolls stars Ingrid Bergman, who appeared in Autumn Sonata with Liv Ullmann… Photography: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Mariel’s grandfather was Ernest: among the films of the great man’s work is the 1943 version of For Whom the Bell Tolls, starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman. It is of course pure coincidence that the two great Swedish figures of 20th century cinema were called Bergman (the “unrelated” parenthesis is rarely deployed more) but they worked together: the Autumn Sonata of 1978 was the penultimate role of Ingrid – directed by Ingmar – in which she appeared alongside Liv Ulmann.

After Miss Julie

Colin Farrel
…who directed Miss Julie with Colin Farrell… Photography: Kate Green/Getty Images

Although best known for Bergman’s films (Ingmar), Ullmann has also directed, including taking on another Swedish giant in Strindberg’s Miss Julie; Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell starred. This happened in 2014, a point that seems to have launched Farrell’s current iteration of a handsome, aging leading man into more interesting character roles (The Lobster, The Beguiled, Widows, After Yang), with the occasional blockbuster added (The Batman). Which updates us, with Farrell and Gleeson darkly bickering on a remote island, over a plain pint.

Pairing Notes

A whole cooked crab
Photography: Aliyah

To eat Before sailing to the Aran Islands, where much of the film was shot, why not stop at the bilingual Cafe Pota, where everything is on offer from ‘grá-nola’ to potted crab.

Lily Not on the islands, but still largely in the west of Ireland, Colin Barrett’s recent Homesickness is a brilliant collection of dark and deep short stories.

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