Only a sinister mind like McDonagh’s could describe the eerily intimidating Christopher Walken this way: “When he smiles … ! You almost want to tickle him to get him to smile more. He’s so boyish and good-looking and lively.”
Obviously, from this picture, that’s not exactly what’s happening in that waiting room.
McDonagh’s storytelling tends to veer into the absurd or starkly violent while still maintaining a kind of heartfelt melancholy. “He brings out a lot of humanity, even though it’s so dark,” says Rockwell.
As Farrell puts it: “It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there are very real and very deep feelings at play in all of his work. They’re just masked by this hugely exorbitant language and very extreme, and at times potentially violent situations. Beneath all that stuff, the truth that lies beneath his writing is compassion — more than he would stake a claim for.”
“No one does it his way,” adds producer Graham Broadbent (Welcome to Sarajevo, Millions) who worked with McDonagh on In Bruges. “No one walks the tightrope of drama, pathos, comedy, and dark comedy the way he does.”
The film mirrors McDonagh’s own life as a writer, though we can only presume (hopefully) it does so in symbolic ways. Farrell points out the obvious parallel in the name of his character: “I mean, I’m playing a character writing a script called Seven Psychopaths, and his name is Martin, so …” the actors says, trailing off but squinting one eye in a knowing look.
Beyond the dognapping plot, the film is about a storyteller who collects bizarre personalities for his work. “As they go on their journey, and Marty is trying to find the seven psychopaths for his screenplay, he starts to encounter them in real life,” says Broadbent.
Farrell acknowledged that part of this movie may be doing that too, gathering up McDonagh’s own experiences and frustrations in a violent, fictional throw-down. “Martin does get as bored as any of us do,” Farrell says, “at some of the s–t that comes out of Hollywood.”
CBS Films will release Seven Psychopaths in theaters this fall.
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