Colin Farrell Reacts to the Rise of Irish Actors in Hollywood Including Barry Keoghan (Exclusive)

The 47-year-old actor is from Castleknock, Ireland.

To Colin Farrell, it's not the luck of the Irish that is to thank for the recent rise in popularity of the country's actors. 

Speaking with ET's Cassie DiLaura in anticipation of his Apple TV+ series, Sugar, Farrell, 47, said that he isn't surprised to see so many actors from the Emerald Isle gaining notoriety, including Barry Keoghan, Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal and more. Zooming out, Ireland is also responsible for giving the world the likes of Oscar nominees Saoirse RonanCillian Murphy and Liam Neeson

The Banshees of Inisherin star says that for an island just 33,000 square miles in size, having such a wealth of talent is "amazing" and proves that the country has a deep history rooted in storytelling, whether that be on screen, in music or channeled into any other artistic ventures. 

"I mean, we punch so far above our weight, you know? We're only a country of five million people and I don't know, Irish people -- just whether it's through music, the written word, whether it's prose of poetry, film, theater of course, we just -- we have a deep connection to," Farrell said. "I think just to the importance of story and to leaning into stories and meanings with which we understand ourselves and the world around us."

This comes after Murphy's historic win in the Outstanding Lead Actor category at the Oscars in March. The Peaky Blinders alum, 47, became the first Irish-born actor to claim the prestigious award for his role as the titular character in Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer. Farrell and Murphy previously worked together on the 2003 film Intermission

Colin Farrell, Kelly MacDonald, Cillian Murphy and Shirley Henderson at the premiere of 2003's 'Intermission' - Getty Images

Similarly, Farrell pointed to Keoghan, 31, a native Dubliner whose recent credits include major blockbusters like Marvel's The Eternals and Emerald Fennell's Academy Award-nominated Saltburn. In that film, Keoghan played the film's lead character, working alongside Jacob Elordi and Rosamund Pike. He also recently played opposite Austin Butler and Callum Turner in an Apple TV+ series of his own, Masters of the Air

"Barry's off to the races," Farrell said of his friend and Irish compatriot. "He's killing it, he's doing amazing."

It's especially fun to watch, he says, as not only a friend and fellow countryman but as someone who has worked with him on numerous occasions. The pair worked together on the 2022 film, The Banshees of Inisherin, which racked up eight Oscar nominations and four BAFTA wins. They also starred together in Yorgos Lanthimos' The Killing of a Sacred Deer in 2017. 

Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan - Getty Images

"He's great, he's doing amazing," the Total Recall actor said. "I saw him last week for the first time in close to a year and he seemed like he was in great form, so it was great to see him."

The pair are passing ships these days as they each work on promoting their new film and television projects, including their respective Apple TV+ shows. For his part, Farrell plays a private investigator obsessed with film in a noir-inspired drama also starring Nate Corddry, Amy Ryan and Kirby Howell-Baptiste. 

The show follows his character, John Sugar, who is contracted to help find the missing granddaughter of a big-time Hollywood producer. As he continues to search, the case only ends up expanding past the disappearance as he discovers more about the family. Farrell says it was the new angle that the show uses to examine the classic genre that drew him to the project and made him want to play the titular character.

"I've loved noir films for many, many years. I've enjoyed so many of them, the private detective trope is always an interesting one 'cause it brings up questions of purpose -- meaning what side of the line you're on, good and bad," he said. "Private detectives are usually -- in the world of noir -- hard-boiled. They're usually somewhat bittered or jaded by the ugliness they've observed throughout their work and this guy wasn't."

Watch a trailer for Sugar in the player below:

The first three episodes of Sugar release on Apple TV+ on April 5. Subsequent episodes drop on Fridays. 


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