In the dark comedy “Seven Psychopaths” (written and directed by Martin McDonagh), Colin Farrell plays Marty Faranan, a struggling writer in Los Angeles who is trying to finish a screenplay titled “Seven Psychopaths.” Marty’s best friend is unemployed actor Billy Bickle (played by Sam Rockwell), who makes money by kidnapping dogs and then returning them to their owners for a cash reward.
Billy’s partner in crime is an eccentric, religious man named Hans Kieslowski (played by Christopher Walken), whose wife has cancer. Chaos ensues when Billy kidnaps the Shi Tzu of mobster named Charlie Costello (played by Woody Harrelson), who will stop at nothing to get revenge. Here is what Farrell, Rockwell and Walke said when they did an interview together at the Los Angeles press junket for “Seven Psychopaths.”
When you first read the title “Seven Psychopaths,” what did you think the movie was about?
Farrell: I had no idea, but I knew it would be out there. I knew it would be mad. I didn’t think it would be as made as the script was and the film its. It’s so mental! I had no idea.
Rockwell: I knew it would be pretty wacky, knowing Martin.
Walken: Yes. Sam and I did a play [with Martin McDonagh] called “A Behanding in Spokane” a couple of years ago. And it was a wild play. Wild!
Rockwell: There was gasoline in that play.
Walken: A suitcase full of chopped-off hands.
Rockwell: Family entertainment.
You filmed “Seven Psychopaths” in Los Angeles and in Joshua Tree. Were there any favorite places or moments for you?
Rockwell: There were just great moments of levity, you know? And a tent with a big space heater. Just Googling weird stuff on the Internet, just laughing. Just stupid stuff that guys do.
Are there any lines in “Seven Psychopaths” that you can see repeating years from now?
Rockwell: There are so many. There are so many great lines in the movie.
“Seven Psychopaths” had its world premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. What was it like watching the movie for the first time with an audience?
Rockwell: It was insane! We were at Midnight Madness. That was pretty crazy.
Walken: I saw it all by myself about a month earlier, and I knew it was fascinating, but I never thought it would have all those laughs. I laughed out loud all alone in the dark when Woody [Harrelson’s] head exploded. I don’t know why. The violence is in this movie, as somebody called it, is a little bit Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote. It’s kind of gets into realm of stepping past something into what’s funny.
What is it about “Seven Psychopaths” that has audiences respond to this original film?
Farrell: It’s so unique. Most films that we see now are derivative of films that gone before them. All of Martin’s work stands alone. It’s incredibly unique, incredibly well-crafted. And his penchant for dialogue is second to none. He just writes some most really insane and funny and at times equally touching dialogue.
That’s the thing about Martin’s stuff: As outlandish as some of it is, and as violent as it can be, and as irreverent as it can be, I think at its core, Martin is a really sweet person. People are shocked when they meet him, because they expect him to be dressed all in black and acerbic and sarcastic and sitting in a corner and disinterested in people around him. He’s not. He’s really sunny and bright and lovely and kind.
Rockwell: And handsome!
Farrell: And handsome. I think that stuff, particularly the handsomeness, is apparent in all of his writing. But fundamentally, there’s a lot of heart in all of his stuff. It’s a really sweet film, which is a bizarre thing to say about a film that as violent as, it is, but it’s really sweet, I think.
For more info: “Seven Psychopaths” website