April 29, 2010 / 4:02 PM / in 7 years

Bad boy Colin Farrell questions word of his reform

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Irish actor and tabloid favorite Colin Farrell says reports he is shedding his bad boy image are premature.

Entertainment Weekly wrote earlier in April that Farrell was turning a new leaf, quoting the actor saying, “I realized I’d lost sight of why I went into acting in the first place ... I had to go back and remember.”

The article portrayed the 33-year-old Dubliner, in recovery from an addiction to painkillers, as a father of two working to soften his image, going so far as to appear on Sesame Street.

But Farrell -- equally at home on the gossip pages that cover his complicated love life as on the arts pages for movies from “Crazy Heart” to “Miami Vice” -- is not committing to personal reform.

“Other people have said that’s what I have been trying to do,” he said in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday when asked to discuss reports he was shedding his bad boy image.

Farrell, regularly cited on sexiest man alive lists, is wearing his black hair long. He has bushy eyebrows, a goatee and is rake thin.

“I have never been quoted as saying that,” he said, smoking a cigarette and discussing “Ondine,” his latest movie, ahead of its U.S. premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday.

”You live your life and people try to categorize how you live your life, and that’s the job of the media to a certain extent.

“I try not to concern myself with it too much.”

If Farrell blames the media for his image, he has provided plenty of grist. An Internet sex tape with a Playboy model and the resulting law suits have provided years of headlines.

He has been sued for sexual harassment and is such a notorious ladies man he once propositioned Shakespearean actress Dame Eileen Atkins when she was turning 70, and 42 years his senior.

The man who has had more flings than hit films has found love again, on the set with his “Ondine” co-star, Polish actress Alicja Bachleda. They had a son last October.

“Ondine,” which already has been released in Britain, sees Irish director Neil Jordan re-imagine the myth of a water nymph who would lose her immortality if she falls in love with a mortal man and bears him a child.

CRITICS STING

While Farrell may have found love making the watery drama, critics are not glowing.

The Times of London called the movie’s plot “ridiculous but rather charming” while Britain’s Daily Telegraph said, “Quite what Neil Jordan thought he was doing is hard to say.”

The News of the World wrote, “What Alicja lacks in acting ability, she makes up for in getting pregnant (true story -- little Henry Tadeusz Farrell was born last October).”

The movie will be released in U.S. cinemas in early June and released a month earlier on television via video-on-demand. Viewers can watch the movie at home for $10.99 before the film gets its American theatrical release.

Director Neil Jordan, promoting the movie in tandem with Farrell, does not want to dwell too much on such matters.

Gone are the days when movies like his 1992 hit “The Crying Game” can be released in a few cinemas and build enough word-of-mouth buzz to become a nationwide hit, said Jordan, who won the best original screenplay Oscar for that movie.

“You could drive yourself nuts thinking about how the marketplace is changing,” Jordan said.

So will the new realities of the movie business change how he approaches work? “That’s a broad question,” Jordan said. “3-D and all that stuff? (‘Avatar’ director) James Cameron can answer those questions.”

Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Philip Barbara

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