On choosing to do Fright Night I got a call saying “They’re remaking Fright Night. Do you know it?” I said “Hell, yeah! I watched that horror film many times growing up. Why are the Hollywood philistines redoing it? [When I read the script] I was highly pissed off that I liked it as much as I did. I thought, God this could be so much fun.
You’ve even quit smoking right? It was time. I was a 40-cigarette-a-day smoker, but I wasn’t enjoying it. So on my 34th birthday last year, I spent a day with a pack and consciously looked at every single puff until I smoked the last one at 11:55 that night. I did a whole ritual thing by writing a letter to tobacco, giving it as much significance as I possibly could. I’m done with it.
Though you have kept a little tabacco allegiance by wearing Dunhill suits. When I was younger, I know they sold cigarettes but didn’t know Dunhill had a line of clothes! They make beautiful suits and have been very kind to me over the years, clothing my back more than once at the Oscars and Golden Globes.
Otherwise, do you think about fashion? Not so much – even though right now I’m wearing this gray All Saints shirt that I got at a photo shoot two weeks ago, Rock & Republic jeans, and John Varvatos boots. I’m a full fledged fashion victim today. But usually I’ll pop down to Jet Rag, this secondhand clothes shop in L.A., and splash down $200 on 12 items. I got this brown leather wristband years ago – I don’t know where or when or how – but I love it.
Your reputation as a ladies’ man is well documented. You once declared, “I’m a huge fan of women.” I love women; I always have. I was raised by an incredibly strong, kind and generous mother, and I have two wonderful sisters. It all started there. They’re beautiful, life-giving creatures, so, yes, I adore women completely.
One of them was Elizabeth Taylor, who praised you as Richard Burton reincarnated. At her funeral you read a beautiful but very complex poem, “The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo,” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, which couldn’t have been easy. No, that wouldn’t be her style to make it easy on me. It was one of her favorites, if not her very favorite poem. She was an amazing woman, and I was grateful to have shared some times with her in the last year and a half of her life. I was truly lucky to bask in her presence intellect, generosity, kindness and sense of fun.
Let’s hit on your Irishness. Your countrymen are great authors. Are you a huge reader? I’m not voracious, but I have an anthology of Yeats poetry that’s probably the book I’ve kept going back to for years.
Do you read it on a Kindle now? I couldn’t. I love the weight and smell of a book and turning the pages. But who knows, maybe it’ll be another of those “I don’t go to the gym” moments, and you cut to Colin Farrell 2013, and he’s got a Kindle and a little earpiece, talking on the phone while he’s running on a treadmill.