Colin Farrell Had A Tough Time With The Animals Of The Banshees Of Inisherin

"The Banshees of Inisherin" marks a long-awaited reunion between writer/director Martin McDonagh and his "In Bruges" stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. As with most of McDonagh's previous directorial efforts, it's a film that straddles the line between bleak comedy and tragedy. In its trailer alone, Gleeson's character, Colm, abruptly ends his friendship with his closest companion, Pádraic (Farrell). He even threatens to lop his own fingers off, should the hurt and bewildered Pádraic try to repair things between them.

Early critical word of mouth has been fantastic for "The Banshees of Inisherin" following its premiere on the film festival circuit. /Film's Chris Evangelista was similarly taken with McDonagh's "funny, melancholy tale of friendship gone sour" when he saw it, describing it as one of the rare movies to grasp how depression truly works. It is, by most accounts, a film that called upon its stars to go to some dark and sad places emotionally. Thankfully, they had some misbehaving animals on-set to help lighten the mood.

'The donkey kicked me, the dog bit me...'

Unlike McDonagh's prior directorial efforts ("In Bruges," "Seven Psychopaths," and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"), "The Banshees of Inisherin" is a period piece. It takes place in 1920s rural Ireland, where the locals make their living with all manner of farm animals. In Farrell's case, that meant working with Jenny, a donkey who didn't take so kindly to him starting out. He explained to Empire:

"Ah, Jenny [the donkey] was tricky. It was her first film, but she acted like it was her 100th. She was kind of over it. Kind of jaded. 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."

By comparison, Farrell has a far better time getting on with a horse named Minnie. "Minnie was great. Minnie proved that there's no such thing as small parts, just small actors," he joked. However, Farrell once again ran into a spot of trouble with the dog who played Gleeson's furry BFF in the film:

"And [Gleeson's] dog! I f***ing got bitten by [his] f***ing dog! I still have the scar. The donkey kicked me, the dog bit me..."

If anything, though, it sounds like Farrell might have preferred his animal-related injuries to the emotional ones he suffered making such a brutal break-up movie. "It's a pain in the heart," he told Empire, laughing as he did. It seems he had a similar experience making "In Bruges," which comes as no surprise given its own tragicomical bent. Farrell explained:

"[McDonagh] offers these things to you that are very specific. He wants you to go inside yourself. The work comes home with you."

"The Banshees of Inisherin" opens in theaters on October 21, 2022.