What I Told Colin Farrell

I ran into Colin Farrell last night. I was standing outside the pool hall in my home town, getting into my car, and Colin walked by with some other guy. Oh, it was him. He was pudgier and not as beautiful as in real life, which gave me a moment’s hesitation. He was already several steps past me when I said, “Colin Farrell?”

He pretended not to hear me and I said it again, with more certainty. He still ignored me, and I said, “Hey, come on, I know it’s you, Colin.” He finally stopped. With visible reluctance he turned. His head cocked a bit to the side and his mouth twisted wryly.

I said, “I’m not going to cause you a problem, okay?” I came forward. “I just want to tell you that I greatly admire your acting. As far as I’m concerned, you should’ve won three Academy Awards by now.”

Colin was still playing coy, but he dipped his head infinitesimally to show that he appreciated that judgment and agreed with it.

“You were poignant in ‘In Bruges,’ and the one I watched the other night, ‘London Boulevard,’ that one, too. And the one about the kid whose brother was killed when he ran through a plate glass window, you were heartbreaking in that movie.”

Colin winced at the memory, his expression telling me he’d bared his soul playing that part.

“But the movies where your character dies at the end, like ‘In Bruges’ and ‘London Boulevard,’ nobody wants to see them, Colin. I do, of course. I always want to see a great movie, and they are great movies. But the end, where the main character dies, people don’t like that. Sure, the girls like movies where a lover dies—Titanic, movies like that. But most people want endings that are uplifting, movies where the protagonist succeeds. They want movies to validate their lives. You have to validate their lives, Colin.”

He was listening, and the words came pouring out of me as if I’d written them beforehand, just in case I ran into Colin Farrell on the street someday.

“That doesn’t mean the main character can’t die at the end. But it has to be meaningful. Like in ‘Tale of Two Cities,’ you’ve seen that, right? I mean, you’ve got Sydney Carton, a loser, a drunk, a man who’s squandered his life, and he dies at the end. Well, he’s on his way to the guillotine, almost there. But Sydney Carton is a hero at the end. His death validates his life. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award, did a great box office, and people loved it. What it is, is that people go to movies to feel like they’re the main character for a couple of hours. They want to feel like they have that kind of meaning in their lives. Validate their lives, Colin. Validate their lives.”

I woke up thinking, man, what a cool dream. I hope Colin Farrell thinks so, too.

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