Los Angeles — We recently talked to Colin Farrell, Anna Kendrick and Jodie Comer and the three actors shared with us some of their insights on life, love, their new projects and the current pandemic lockdown.
The 43-year-old Colin, opened up about being the father to Henry Tadeusz, 10, and James Padraig, 17. The Irish actor shared how it has changed him, what he misses the most in normal life, what he learned about himself during this lockdown and being the Penguin in Matt Reeves’s 2021 film “The Batman.”
Colin is also featured in the new Kenneth Branagh-helmed sci-fi fantasy adventure, “Artemis Fowl,” where he plays Artemis Fowl I, the absent father and criminal mastermind. It is the story of a young criminal prodigy, Artemis Fowl II (portrayed by Ferdia Shaw) who hunts down a secret society of fairies to find his missing father.
Actress-singer Anna Kendrick, on the other hand, who is featured as Darby in her new romantic comedy anthology TV series, “Love Life,” talked to us about her love life, the red flags for a woman on deciding relationships, sex toys, her views on nudity and intimate scenes and father-daughter relationships.
Finally, the lovely 27-year-old English actress Jodie Comer, who is best known for her role as Oksana Astankova/Villanelle in the spy thriller “Killing Eve,” talked to us about a defining moment in her life that gave her confidence and made her the person that she is today, her friendship with Sandra Oh, the fabulous clothes she wears in the series, the finale of “Killing Eve,” and coping and learning new skills during this lockdown.
Below are excerpts of our conversations with them:
How much has fatherhood changed you?
It changed me. I mean it changes me every day. I don’t know what I am doing most of the time, slash all of the time. But I adore my boys, I love them very much. And I just hope I am not f****** them up too much to be honest with you.
I think if all of us can be a little, can f*** our children up a little less than maybe we were f***** up by our parents, if that can be the bar for success, when then eventually we will continue to move in the right direction, the direction of healing and the ability to self-govern with kindness and decency and consideration.
But yeah, my kids are masters. With the love I have for them and the concerns that I have for them and the hopes that I am treating them decently, they bring up a lot of stuff, a lot of fear and a lot of self-judgment, because it’s by far the most important thing of course that I have in my life.
This whole acting and stuff and movies, don’t get me wrong, I get meaning. I am one of the fortunate people on this earth who gets a certain amount of meaning from my work and self-indulgently I get off on what I do sometimes and even when I am uncomfortable in it, it has meaning for me.
But being a dad to those two boys is by a long shot the most difficult and the most rewarding and the most meaningful and the most consequential thing that I will ever do. And time is going fast. It’s moving quickly. I don’t know about you, do you find yourself going back into old photos and videos through your phone at this time? Do you find yourself being nostalgic, I would imagine a lot of us are. Yeah, I have done that a lot in my bed, like three o’clock last night and this morning in bed I was looking over videos of both of my boys when they were four and eight and now they are ten and sixteen and it’s just all going so quickly.
So as I said, in the vacuum that I have been fortunate enough to live in — which is the vacuum that involves a home, a fridge and freezer full of food, and a few dollars in the bank and everyone in my life that is very close to me healthy — I have found this an incredibly rewarding time because it has allowed me and family to spend time together that we wouldn’t have had if I was still in London shooting “Batman.”
Having said that, of course I would give that up readily, the time I have had, that gift, I would give it up for all the lives that had been lost to be back on the planet and for people not to have experienced the degree of pain. But we have been dealing with what we have been dealt. And it’s an incredibly difficult time and an incredibly complicated time with struggle and pain and loss, but I would hope those of us who can really just move forward with a greater degree of patience and a greater degree of consideration for each other.
What do you most about normal life these days?
One thing I noticed in the first, because I came back from London, I was doing something there, and I came back and went straight into two weeks here. And I was two weeks alone in this house. I don’t have a partner, my two children were with their moms. And so I was alone here for two weeks.
And I just remember after about nine or 10 days, feeling the absence of touch in my life. And that was the most significant moment I had in relation to the awareness of something that was lacking that I was very used to having, just touch.
And I literally mean handshake with the barista in the coffee shop down the road, a hug with a friend, a high five, knuckle bump, whatever it may be, I had had, and it’s only 10 days. But because of the degree of enforcement or the degree of imposition, like this has been imposed upon everyone and none of us have had a choice, solitude is not as chosen for those who are living in solitude now as it may be. It’s something that is an affliction.
So because of that, my point being, I have probably gone a week before in my life without touching anyone, perhaps, maybe not, but because of what was happening in the world and because of my awareness of why I was living without touch. It became something very extreme and something that I felt that I was really missing and really lacking. And just, what does touch represent? It just represents tenderness, it represents human interaction and it represents a sense of community.
And so that was the thing that I missed and I just realized how grateful I am and I would like to hold onto it as much as I can and how grateful I am to be able to go down to the shop and get a coffee. And the idea of going to a cinema, and I know there are bigger things at play with the world, but the idea of actually going to a movie theater, standing in line at the concessions and getting popcorn and a soft drink with my kids or a friend or on my own — It’s like another world that I can’t even, just the idea of it, there are so many simple banal things that we get to experience in our lives every day that we don’t, as often happens, the lack of having them exposes the magic or the worth that they provide us.
But touch definitely is something that I miss; being able to shake a hand or give a friend a hug, just that. And that is why I imagine, I have friends who are older than me that have mothers and fathers who are way up in years who haven’t been able to see their mothers or fathers and haven’t been able to touch them and have waved through windows and that’s been heartbreaking to see. And we’ve seen those images all over the internet and it’s been a very tricky time for so many.
What did you learn about yourself during this period of reflection?
Yeah, that I can be, I don’t think I learned this, I think I probably knew this, but I can be grumpy blech, but I probably maybe possibly, one hundred percent, identify my worth with external things in my life more than I would like to.
I find that because the routine or the work that I had done or was doing, all that has been taken from my life, has allowed me to identify how much I see my worth with acting or with doing, with being active. And now, you see it online. Everyone is trying to figure out what to do. Somebody is learning a new language. Somebody is picking up an instrument. Some people are doing this, that or the other. Some people can’t get out of bed. Some people are eating too much. Some people are exercising loads.
I find myself having to lean into just my thoughts, my imaginations, my fears again, hopes, all these things that I have used life to distract myself at times, not all the time. But the busyness of life that I have used at time, understandably as we all do, to distract myself from other kind of internal agitations, those internal agitations have had a chance to come rearing to the fore.
And yeah, like many people, if I am not doing, doing, doing, I find it hard to sit in the consideration that my life has worth. And of course it does and I believe everyone’s life, just by virtue of having breath in the body, everyone’s life has worth, human life has worth, animal life has worth, planet life has worth, life has worth.
But sometimes with this kind of at times toxic awareness that we have, toxic consciousness that at times we have, that is so kind of imbued with an ability to judge the self harshly, sometimes we do and sometimes I lean into the “external forces” as markers for my own self-worth.
And these are things that can be taken away from you anytime, so my worth is reliant on those things. My worth is reliant on delusion or those which can be removed from my existence at any moment. So by not getting work again and say that it all goes away tomorrow, then I am going to be like shit, I have no worth, and that’s not, I don’t even believe that and a relationship with myself feels like that might be true.
Can you talk about how it felt getting into the Penguin costume in “The Batman” movie?
It’s all exciting. To be a part of that universe and just there are certain words that are part of my internal lexicon: Gotham City, Penguin, Joker, Batman, Bruce Wayne, Harvey Dent, all these things.
Tim Burton’s Batman was kind of my, no, I watched the Adam West TV show growing up actually as well. So Batman as a kid, yes very much, not in comic book form but the TV show I watched ardently when I was a child. And then in my teens I saw Burton’s version and loved it.
And then obviously I was a huge fan of what Chris Nolan did with that world and how he brought it back to life and gave it an immediacy and a contemporary significance. So just to be part of, again that folklore, that mythology, is again really cool.
I had only started it and I can’t wait to get back. The creation of it, the aesthetic of the character, has been fun and I really am so excited to get back and explore it. And I haven’t got that much to do. I have a certain amount in the film. I am not all over it by any means. But there are a couple of some tasty scenes I have in it and my creation and I can’t wait to get back. Yeah, I totally feel like it is something that I have not had the opportunity to explore before. It feels original and fun. But I am only at the start of the journey so I can’t wait to get back and really get into it.
Talk about the relationships of mothers and daughters which is sometimes more difficult than the relationship between daughters and fathers.
The relationship between Darby and her mother, we don't know a lot about it until a little later in the show. And I love it so much. It has such an impact on who Darby is, and you really see that once you get to know her mother. And we get to know her mother even more as the show goes on.
There's an episode where we really get into Darby's relationship with her mother. And I was so surprised and happy. You know, happy might be the wrong word, but I was so amazed at how many women on the set, on the crew came up to me and they were like, this is my mother, this is my relationship with my mother.
Darby has a difficult relationship with her mother so it made me sad, but I definitely felt that made me really proud of the show that we were making, and that it resonated with so many people. And it also made me call my mother and say how grateful I am for what a wonderful mom she is.
There's a scene where Darby breaks down crying, and her mother doesn't know how to comfort her. And this happened a lot throughout the show; that it brought up a lot of personal stuff for me, but not necessarily to do with the content of the show.
That was one example where I have a close relationship with my mother and she's so empathetic but just having the experience of breaking down crying and having somebody just go like, what is your problem? That's something that reminded me of relationships that I was in when I was much younger. And just how painful that experience is and how grateful I am that there are things that I don't accept any more from people.
I expect empathy from people if we're going to have a relationship. It made me grateful that my mother modeled that empathy for me. Because if you don't have an empathetic home life, it's hard for you to know that you deserve empathy. The relationship between mothers and daughters is so complicated and so fraught sometimes. This show made me grateful for the way that my mother really modeled what empathy was for me.
What are the red flags for a woman on deciding relationships?
I remember somebody telling me when I was maybe, 14 or 15, I remember them saying it was a really specific example. And yet I have thought about it in almost any relationship I've ever like entered into or if I'm on a first date or something. Somebody told me when I was 14, if you're ever in a car with a guy, and he's driving, and as a joke, he lets go the wheel and makes you grab the wheel, because he's goofing around or something like that is not a guy that you want to be with. He might think, hey, I'm just joking. Why are you being so sensitive? We're just having fun. I wouldn't have let the car crash. But really, he's testing your boundaries. He's testing like what you're gonna put up with. And he's trying to make you uncomfortable. And it was such a weird, specific example. But I feel like I've had moments in my life where I'm like, oh, this is the guy letting go of the wheel to see what I'll do.
This is silly, but I dated a guy when I was 19, who tickled me all the time. And I don't like being tickled. I feel very claustrophobic, I panic and I don't like it. And I kept saying, this is a problem for me. Please don't do it. And he kept doing it and I broke up with him. And he thought I was being crazy because I broke up with him for tickling me.
I was like no, I broke up with you because you didn't respect me. I asked you for something and you did it to make me uncomfortable. I feel little things like that are so specific and you never know the exact situation it's going to be, but I'm really glad that somebody told me that when I was younger because it has come up a lot for me over the years.
Your show is titled “Love Life.” So let’s talk about your love life. Your first crush, best relationship you’ve had, worst breakup?
My first crush was in elementary school, and his name was Robbie. And I told him that I had a crush on him. And he told me that I was too short. So that was very heartbreaking for me. And now I really like being short. I actually love being a petite woman, that's fine with me.
My worst break-up was something that we tried to put in the show in a very, wait, that was like, a lot of stuff in the show is stuff that I mined from my own life, but it's all changed just enough so that I don't get angry phone calls from ex-boyfriends.
So, the worst breakup was something that I really wanted to put in the show. And I felt it was important to talk about the fact that I feel like most women don't make it out of their 20's without dating a guy who's a little scary. And you don't have to be in physical danger to be able to ask your friends for help. I was young and this was a short relationship, but he started to feel scary to me. And I felt like I was being dramatic. I felt like if I told my friends about it, they would say that I was overreacting. And it wasn't until later that I realized that my friends would have been happy to help me. And, luckily, that was a relationship that I got out of after only five or six months.
But in the show, for Darby, that relationship is longer. And so it was important to me to show that things can get uncomfortable and scary in relationships, and threatening. But sometimes when the good times are so good, it's really hard to leave. So yeah, a lot of the best and worst stuff of my relationship history is sort of in the show. Hopefully in a way where I have plausible deniability.
I watched your other TV show “Dummy.” Have you found a new appreciation for sex toys after having done that?
Well, I think during “Dummy,” which is about a sex doll for those who don't know, it did give me a new appreciation for people who are owners of sex dolls. Because it turns out that a sex doll is really heavy-lifting, way heavier than you think it's going to be. So, I feel like there's a level of commitment there to the people who enjoy sex dolls. No judgement here.
So, I tip my cap to those people. And actually, the director of “Dummy,” who created all the episodes of “Dummy,” her names is Tricia Brock, She also directed the Danny Coupons episode on “Love Life.” The one episode that opens with Darby using a sex toy. So, I was like, Tricia, you just like to have me doing something gross every time we work together.
You have lots of intimate scenes with all your love interests in the show. So talk about your views on doing nudity or intimate scenes.
It's funny that you say that because when we started doing the show, it dawned on me that in every single episode, I was gonna be doing like a kissing scene or a sex scene with someone brand new. Like each episode is a different person. So, that was nerve-wracking, but my personal feelings on nudity have stayed the same, which is that I'm not really interested in nudity for me. But I've never had a problem with simulated sex scenes. To me, that feels like that's about the character whereas I only get one body so nudity just isn't for me.
I was just so totally grateful each new episode that each cast member that we had and we had so many talented guys come on the show to say nothing of the women on the show, who like blow me away so talented. But I was very grateful that every person that Darby dates on the show is like such a class act, such a good actor, such a professional. Because it was definitely weird to know we're going to meet, and then immediately start filming. And within a week, we are going to be in bed pretending to have sex. So I was just very grateful that everybody was the coolest.
Tell us where you are right now and what are you doing for your mental and physical health during this time.
I'm in my house in LA. I'm by myself. I think it comes in waves. I could say I've been exercising every day and cooking and doing everything. I don't know what the experience has been for you, but there's definitely been days where I feel really helpless. I think that's probably something we're all dealing with. Just that feeling that something really terrible is happening and I can't help. I can't do anything and it makes you feel really powerless. You're trapped in your house and I definitely have gone through different cycles of letting that get me down and then just trying to let it happen rather than say a lot of other people have it worse than you, stop feeling sorry for yourself. So, just letting the bad feelings exist and knowing that they'll pass and that we will all get through this together.
I do feel grateful for the sense of community that exists even though we can't be together. Getting on Zoom chats, or Skype, or whatever the platform is and talking to my family, talking to my friends. Twice a week I do family movie nights. So, my parents are in Maine and my brothers in New York, and we pick a movie and we all press play at the same time. We watched that Robert Redford movie “The Natural” and “Princess Bride” and movies like that. We're all texting each other during the movie, which normally would be a no, but under the circumstances is really sweet. So, we're finding creative ways to stay connected.
Based on the show “Killing Eve,” is there a defining moment for you as a person that gave you confidence or that helped define who you are today?
I think it would be so hard to bring it down to one moment but I think my relationship with my parents — they’ve always made sure that the choices that I’ve made have been my own. And even starting out acting at such a young age, I remember I left my first agent, which was a fairly local small agency to sign with Independent in London and my dad said well, you know where the phone is. I think I was about 16. So I think that has enabled me to always be very clear in my mind opinions. That is probably what’s most defined me, has defined me the most within my life, definitely.
Was that feeling of being empowered something that was instilled from a really young age?
Yeah. And I think my sense of independence. I think I’ve always been independent and that was also down to their encouragement. They’ve always been there to listen but have never ever been the ones to make a decision. The ball’s always been in my court when decisions need to be made. So yeah I think they’ve given me a real sense of independence and empowerment.
Talk about your friendship with Sandra Oh whom you have worked for several seasons now.
Sandra’s been there for me from day one; since I met her at my initial audition. She really took me under her wing. And I think that continues to grow with each season as we become more involved in these characters and this experience. It’s something that I know Sandra and I are greatly passionate about and care about. So of course we spend very little time together on screen and therefore are really not on set at the same time either. But she is so wonderful and yeah, she’s always checking in on me and seeing how things are even when we’re not filming. I really appreciate that.
You always have amazing clothes in the show. Do you manage to get some of them for yourself?
I try my very best and I don’t always succeed. Sometimes they let me buy a couple of things, like 50% off, a costume sale. But honestly they like to keep a hold of them now just obviously in case in season two we picked up immediately after, season two to three was six months, so we just don’t know all the time where we’re going to pick up in the story.
So sometimes I’ll go back and they’ll give me more of what I ask for because they don’t need it anymore. But honestly sometimes a lot of the clothes feel too connected to Villanelle so I always feel really strange walking around the street in them. So if I ever do take anything it’s usually shoes or maybe something that maybe wasn’t necessarily seen on camera. Otherwise I think it would feel really strange for me.
Can you tease anything on the finale of “Killing Eve”?
What I love about this season is it’s completely different to the previous two. We constantly see Eve and Villanelle at loggerheads and coming at each other from a very aggressive…they’ve both been hurt tremendously in different ways so they’re always at this standoff. And these women, throughout the series, experience things in their personal life that strangely somehow bring them together at the end. And it’s weirdly cathartic. And we see them interact in ways in which we’ve never seen them interact before. So yeah, season one, Eve stabs Villanelle, season two Villanelle shot Eve back, season three is not what people are expecting. I would imagine that people are expecting the same kind of thing because these women seemingly can’t live alongside each other. So it was really kind of beautiful and moving actually when I watched the final episode. So I hope people enjoy where we’ve taken it.
Have you learned any new skills while staying at home during these times?
Oh my god, well, I’ve perfected my victorious sponge cake. I feel like the whole world has turned to baking in the middle of this crisis. But other than that, I can’t say I’ve been particularly creative at all, actually. That’s something I can see people asking, how people are staying creative. But honestly I’ve just been catching up on shows and films I haven’t watched, reading a little bit more and just catching up on those things that I love. And honestly I’m making the most of my family time. I wish I could give you an impressive skill but victorious sponge cake will have to do I’m afraid. (Laughs)
How are you keeping your sanity during this lockdown and self-isolation?
Mostly just kind of trying not to stress too much. I feel like when things are out of your hands you just have to try and surrender to it. In all honesty my family are healthy and I feel as though I cannot complain. I’ve been told to stay in my house and spend time with my family who I see a lot less now so I’m finding a lot of sanity in just being here with them and not living out of a suitcase. — LA, GMA News