Farrell meets Cannes press as The Lobster eyes top prize

‘It’s the kind of film that being in it doesn’t mean I know any more about it’

Colin Farrell talks during a press conference for the film The Lobster at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southeastern France. Photograph: Loic Venance/AFP

Colin Farrell talks during a press conference for the film The Lobster at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southeastern France. Photograph: Loic Venance/AFP

 

Colin Farrell has gone before the press at the Cannes Film Festival as Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster – an Irish co-production largely filmed in County Kerry – took its valued place in the race for the Palme d’Or.

The dark absurdist comedy stars Farrell as a slightly paunchy architect dispatched to a hotel where guests must find a partner within a certain period or be transformed into the animal of their choice.

“It’s the kind of film that being in it doesn’t mean I know any more about it than any audience member,” Farrell half-explained. “I only have my own idea about it all.”

Fellow cast-members Rachel Weisz, John C Reilly and Léa Seydoux were also on hand to discuss a film that makes creative use of the Parknasilla Resort and Spa. Responding to a question from The Irish Times, Farrell, now looking sleek and tanned again, rejoiced in the opportunity to work at home.

“I seem to find myself every two or three years shooting something at home,” he said. “It’s always a joy. It’s not by design. I’ve just been fortunate that things have come across my path. Where we shot in Sneem in Co Kerry was an absolute joy. It’s a very particular place. But everything about this film was a very particular experience. I find the south west of Ireland inherently moving. And the people there have an incredible warmth.”

It was a major coup for Element Pictures and The Irish Film Board to lure Lanthimos – director of 2009 Cannes hit Dogtooth – to Ireland and the prestigious slot in the main competition gives the film an invaluable boost. Ed Guiney, co-founder of Element and producer of The Lobster, joined the cast at the morning press conference.

The cast were repeatedly asked whether the film had something to say about society’s pressure to be in a relationship.

“I know that being alone, depending on where you’re from, has a certain stigma,” Farrell mused. “But the texture of loneliness is all through the script. That can be exploited by certain government or certain religions.”

The Lobster received positive reviews from the majority of the critics at Cannes. “Buñuel for a post-Tinder world. Nerve-twingeingly funny, meticulously composed. Colin Farrell is In Bruges-good,” Robbie Collin of the Daily Telegraph tweeted.

Paddy Power had the film as ante-post favourite for the Palme d’Or, but the strong showing by László Nemes’s Son of Saul, a searing Holocaust drama, may lengthen those odds.

The on-line chatter also found several mentions of Farrell’s dad-bod – beer belly popping over belt – being mischievously bandied about.

“Dad-bod?” the currently svelte Colin laughed. “A tragically single man’s bod, perhaps.”