Colin Farrell Was Kicked By Jenny The Donkey On The Banshees Of Inisherin: ‘She Didn’t Like Her Nose Being Touched’ – Exclusive Image

The Banshees Of Inisherin

by Ben Travis |
Updated on

If you were to line up Colin Farrell’s recent films and wonder which ones might have taken their physical toll, you’d most likely pick The Batman with its blockbuster trappings, or Thai cave rescue drama Thirteen Lives with its enclosed spaces and extreme feats of human perseverance. Instead, look no further than The Banshees Of Inisherin: his latest collaboration with In Bruges director Martin McDonagh, a blackly-comic drama about a rural friendship gone suddenly sour in 1920s Ireland. For all that it largely takes place in open landscapes or down the pub, Farrell met his match in one of the film’s scene-stealing animal stars: enter Jenny the donkey.

“Ah, Jenny was tricky,” Farrell recalls, sitting down alongside McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson in a new Empire interview. “It was her first film, but she acted like it was her 100th. She was kind of over it. Kind of jaded,” he jokes. “She didn’t like her nose being touched, I found out. She kicked me in the knee. But that was my fault. I got too close to her.” Farrell fared better with another animal, Minnie the horse – but proved similarly unlucky with a canine co-star. “Minnie was great,” he says. “Minnie proved that there’s no such thing as small parts, just small actors. And [Gleeson’s] dog! I fucking got bitten by your fucking dog! I still have the scar. The donkey kicked me, the dog bit me…”

The Banshees Of Inisherin – exclusive

For all the animal wrangling though, Farrell mostly recalls the emotional agony of working on a Martin McDonagh movie. “It’s a pain in the heart,” he laughs. “It’s close enough to home. He offers these things to you that are very specific. He wants you to go inside yourself. The work comes home with you,” he explains. “You’re asking questions of yourself: how we hurt and why we hurt and why we do the things we do to each other and why we do the things we do to ourselves. You’re looking closely at these things so that you can represent them in a far and decent way.” Ultimately though, that pain and purity is key to the trio’s collaborations. “More than anything, we’re all viewing each other’s discomforts and vulnerabilities and hopes and ambitions – and we’re doing it without bias,” Farrell says. “That’s what it is to work with these fellas. The sense of trust that you feel. It makes every day a joy. Even when it’s sad.”

Empire – November 2022 cover

Read Empire’s full interview with Farrell, McDonagh and Gleeson in the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever issue – on sale Thursday 29 September, and available to pre-order online here. The Banshees Of Inisherin comes to UK cinemas from 21 October.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us