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The Banshees of Inisherin is a brilliant movie about a friendship pushed to the brink. Emotional discomfort is the engine for the film’s plot, but thankfully none of that toxicity is present in the relationship between the two leads Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.

The actors have been collaborators in the past, but their bond is much more significant than their careers. In a recent interview, Farrell and Gleeson recalled the endearing moment they became friends. 

‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ is one of 2022’s best movies

The Banshees of Inisherin takes place on a fictional island off the western coast against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War in 1923. There’s not a lot to do in Inisherin, but the two friends Colm (Gleeson) and Pádraic (Farrell) maintain a daily routine of meeting at the local pub to check in on each other. But one day, Colm stops showing up and tells Pádraic that he no longer wants to be friends with him. 

Colm decided that he would rather commit his life to creating great art as a folk musician than hang out with his pleasant, but dim friend. Pádraic doesn’t take this development well and tries to change his mind. A frustrated Colm then sets an ultimatum: If Pádraic keeps reaching out to him, he will begin cutting off his own fingers one by one. 

The absurdity of the premise enables the movie to explore grand philosophical questions about how life is best lived. Is it better to be remembered for your work or how you made people feel? How much does a person have to sacrifice one in service of the other? The awkward relationship between Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and Dominic (Barry Keoghan) also speaks to the movie’s themes about the consequences of loneliness and ambition. 

The Banshees of Inisherin has received plenty of awards attention in recent months and the Oscars followed suit with nine nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (Martin McDonagh), Best Actor (Farrell), Best Supporting Actor (Gleeson and Keoghan), and Best Supporting Actress (Condon). 

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell became friends after they met in a hotel

The Banshees of Inisherin represented an on-screen reunion for Farrell and Gleeson. They starred in the 2008 cult hit In Bruges (another movie written and directed by McDonagh), but their friendship exists outside of the lines of their acting roles. The two did a joint interview on CBS Sunday Morning and told the story of their first meeting at the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto. 

In his own words, Farrell had recently “put the jar down” and was attempting to stay sober after a stint in rehab. When Gleeson offered him a drink in his room, he was initially taken aback before he realized what was happening. 

“He went to a mini bar that looked like it hadn’t worked since the 50s, and he opened it up and he pulled out two bottles of water and he went “still or sparkling?” said Farrell. “And just in that moment, I swear to God it was the sweetest thing. In that moment, the simplicity of that gesture told me there’s a man that’ll look after you, there’s a man that will take care of you, there’s a man that considers people.”

Gleeson was similarly effusive about his co-star. “I’ve known a lot of kind men in my life. I’ve been lucky about that, my father was a kind man. And I knew kind friends who were there for you. I knew immediately with him, so that’s why the friendship lasted. He’s somebody who considers people to an extraordinary degree,” he said. 

Both actors will star in high-profile projects in the near future 

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson speak into microphones against a black backdrop with the Sirius XM logo.
Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson attend SiriusXM’s “The Jess Cagle Show” broadcasts from the Oscar’s Nominees Luncheon I Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM

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Farrell’s next big roles are in TV shows. He will star in the series Sugar for Apple TV+. Variety reports that Sugar will be “a genre-bending contemporary take on the private detective story set in Los Angeles.” The show will be directed by Fernando Meirelles (City of God) and co-stars Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Amy Ryan. It does not yet have a release date. 

Farrell will also star in The Batman spinoff series as the Penguin for HBOMax.

Gleeson is currently filming Joker: Folie à DeuxHis part in the movie has yet to be revealed. The musical thriller is set for release on October 4, 2024.