As we cast about for signs ahead of this evening’s replay, Michael Moynihan suggested a face-off between Castleknock’s Colin Farrell and Fossa’s Michael Fassbender, seeing some eerie omens for each county in their film roles.
Even enough. Both actors worked their way through the foothills on the way to stardom. Farrell did the obligatory turn in Ballykissangel on television all of two decades ago, a time so distant he was credited as Col, not Colin.
Fassbender has the upper hand, just about, in this category - not only did he have a brief turn in Band of Brothers, but there’s also the Guinness ad where he swam the Atlantic to give his brother a hug. Remember that?
Farrell took the title role in Alexander (2004), while Fassbender plays an unfeasibly sixpacked Greek in 300 (2006). The Kerryman’s character is called Stelios but it’s not a showy role, as he’s reduced to snarling at the Persians until he’s skewered.
Good news here for Dublin GAA supporters of all stripes, though. Farrell maintains a ripe Liberties drawl while playing the great Macedonian. “Conquer your fear and you will conquer death,” he says at one stage, sounding like Eamon Mac Thomais eating chips from Burdock’s on O’Connell Street. All he’s short is an Arnott’s-era jersey
These seem to be the only movies being made nowadays, and our men have served their time in this category.
Kingdom fans rejoice as Fassbender wrests back momentum here. Farrell has played a superhero of sorts, if you can recall Daredevil (2003): he’s Bullseye, a character whose superpower appears to be a shaved head and luxurious moustache.
By contrast, Fassbender first played Magneto in X-Men First Class (2011) and has donned a natty polo neck to repeat the dose in a couple of sequels. Not sure if there should be a separate category for cool sixties gear, but if there were Fassbender’s rockin’ leather jacket would swing victory on its own, whatever about the power to move metal with his mind
Fassbender keeps the pressure up here, given he plays the title role in Steve Jobs (2015) and turns in a terrific performance as the Apple Computers genius (though the movie loses marks overall for not giving air time to the decision to locate in Cork).
Farrell’s entry in this category is a little left-field - he plays the father of Helen Goff in Saving Mr Banks (2013), and if you’re not sure who that is, her pen name was P. L. Travers. Still unsure? Travers wrote the book Mary Poppins.
In this movie Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) realises gradually Travers’ father - an alcoholic who died young - is the focus of the book, not the children. I’m not crying. You’re crying.
Advantage: on reflection, a draw
Give Fassbender his due, he’s not afraid to push the boat out, even if we all saw a little more than we needed of him in Shame (2011). Have to admire the subliminal message in his character’s name, too - Brandon Sullivan. Get it? Brandon? As in Mount Brandon?
Farrell has the upper hand here, though. Not only has he made a couple of challenging - i.e. baffling - movies with with The Lobster (2015) and The Killing of A Sacred Deer (2016) for Yorgos Lanthimos, the first was made partly in Dublin: the restaurant scene at the end was filmed in Joel’s, the diner you pass on your left on the motorway heading into the capital. It was also partly shot in . . . Sneem, in Kerry!
You’d imagine there’d be a bit more material to work with here, but if you’re a leading man, as these two are, then you get to play the hero more often than not.
Still, Farrell reprises the old Chris Sarandon role in the remake of Fright Night (2011): Jerry Dandridge, the vampire who creeps around his suburb by night to feast on his neighbours. It’s workmanlike - your correspondent has a soft spot for the original, made back in 1985.
Fassbender, however, plays David in Prometheus (2012) in the ongoing Alien series: David is a robot who gets one of the best/creepiest lines (“Big things have small beginnings”) and Fassbender does an unsettlingly good job as an unfeeling automaton. Extra sports credit for shooting a basketball while cycling a bike.
When Inglourious Basterds (2009) was first released, a lot of attention was paid to Fassbender’s turn as Lieutenant Archie Hicox.
Why? Because here you had an Irish actor playing a Briton impersonating a German, though the Irish actor was half-German to begin with. The fact that Hicox ends up in a cool shoot-out in the cellar of a pub didn’t hurt either.
Unfortunately for Kerry fans there can be only one winner here. Farrell played Detective Sonny Crockett in Miami Vice (2006), one of the greatest enjoyable nonsense movies ever (Go-fast boats! Transpo!), and played it to the hilt.
Take the line “Do you know. the meaning of the word foreboding? As in badness is happening right now?” (ignore the fact that that’s not what foreboding means).
Advantage: Miami. I mean, Dublin