In Martin McDonagh’s new black comedy film “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play two longtime friends whose falling out has intense consequences in their small Irish community. Off camera, Farrell had a similar falling out with one of his other co-stars on the film: Jenny the Donkey, who plays his character Pádraic’s loyal animal companion.
“We were friends in the movie and we actually had a good friendship off camera to a point,” Farrell said while promoting the film on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” “And then it just kind of fell apart two-thirds of the way through.”
Gleeson, who joined Farrell in promoting the film on the CBS late-night show, explained that Jenny kicked his co-star in his left knee during production.
“It turned out she needed a little bit of space,” Gleeson said. “There was no diva on the island, and Jenny obviously felt that she could fill that gap.”
Jenny, also the donkey’s real name, is one of several animals with a prominent role in the film. Farrell also ran afoul with Gleeson’s pet dog and a horse that almost drowned him during production.
“She kicked me, [Gleeson’s] dog bit me, there’s a horse in the film that tried to reverse me into the cart into the fucking Atlantic Ocean,” Farrell told Colbert. Maybe stick with the humans, Colin.
Farrell and Gleeson also discussed the magnificent set — the film takes place on the fictional island of Inisherin — on Inishmore and Achill, two islands off the west coast of Ireland. Many of the pieces were constructed on the islands’ edge, mere feet away from the crashing waves of the ocean. Farrell said he thought of the ocean as a metaphor for the central themes of their film.
“It was like the waves and ocean were representative of the inner turmoil that the people of the community felt,” Farrell said. “A lot of this film is about suppression, it’s about the stuff that’s kept down and not spoken about.”
Searchlight Pictures will release “The Banshees of Inisherin” in select theaters on Friday, October 21. Watch the interview below.