MMale friendships in films tend to focus on dissimilar types brought together by fate. Sometimes it’s cops (like Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon series), sometimes it’s teenagers (like Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in the Bill & Ted movies), but rarely is this stuff a combination came into being, as the British-Irish director and screenwriter Martin McDonagh dreamed up for “Bruges to See and Die” in 2008: Two contract killers go into hiding in the Belgian city of Bruges. One, played by Colin Farrell, looks melancholy at the foggy alleyways, plagued by a bad conscience because an order went terribly wrong. The other, Brendan Gleeson, makes the most of the break and drags his colleague through the sights of the medieval city centre. Because McDonagh, together with his leading actors, manages to turn it into a story about friendship, sin and forgiveness that interweaves equal parts tragedy, comedy and action, the film is considered a classic. The American late-night presenter Seth Meyers recently even admitted to kidnapping his wife on their honeymoon to Bruges in order to recreate scenes from the original locations on photos there.
14 years later, Martin McDonagh has again been able to win Farrell and Gleeson for a joint film project. In The Banshees of Inisherin they play two friends again – this time on a narrow, idyllic Irish island in the early 20th century. But there the common path comes to an abrupt and violent end. Just the right occasion, then, to talk to Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson about friendship and ask them how best to break up with someone you’re not actually dating. For the interview, both joined via video call from London. They sit close together, with a poster in the background showing the lush green meadows of the island where the film was shot. In conversation, they joke with each other, tease each other – we want to find out how good friends they really are.