When Colin Farrell learned that his… Thirteen lives co-star Viggo Mortensen wanted to do the film’s grueling underwater scenes himself rather than relying on a stunt double, he couldn’t resist diving after him.
“I couldn’t let Viggo take all the credit,” Farrell joked to The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday night at the premiere of the Ron Howard-directed movie. “I may have to blame Viggo for that decision, but you know, a penny for a pound. If Viggo’s in, I’m in.”
Easier said than done.
Thirteen lives, now in select MGM/UA theaters for a worldwide Prime Video debut on August 5, tells the true story of an unprecedented global effort to rescue a Thai football team after they became trapped in Tham Luang Cave during an unexpected rain shower. A collective made up of the world’s most skilled divers mobilized along with Thai troops and more than 10,000 volunteers to make a harrowing rescue attempt of the twelve boys and their coach. Howard directed from a script by William Nicholson, based on a story by Nicholson and Don Macpherson.
Farrell stars as one of those divers, John Volanthen, opposite Mortensen, Joel Edgerton, Paul Gleeson, Tom Bateman and others in a role that was not only physically demanding, but mentally as well.
“I had some really panicky moments underwater when I had to say to myself, ‘Calm down. Be calm. You’re okay. There’s nothing to worry about. Your tank is good, you’ve got a 60 percent full tank. Just slow your breath. It’s okay,” Farrell recalled the harrowing underwater moments in the cave. “Sometimes there was no surface above your head, just a ceiling and it was incredibly nerve-wracking and I felt incredibly uncomfortable. There was no light and you would wait for [the crew] to get on the speakers to tell you the camera was rolling. But if you were underwater when they called “action,” you might not hear the damn speaker, so everyone is watching everyone underwater. If something happens, someone could run backwards into you and slap your damn mask [pushing it sideways]. Suddenly — hello, panic attack.”
about whether Thirteen lives is the most challenging project he has ever participated in, the actor said: “Probably because there was also a mental aspect, to be honest.”
The hardships aside, Farrell says he always tries to show gratitude for having me employed as an actor: “I must never lose sight of what a fortunate position I am in to be able to earn a living from the storytelling, which is essentially what I do. You know, that’s it. I make a living telling stories and bringing characters to life. I learn a little bit about myself, but of course that’s not the reason I do it. It’s really an incredible job and an experience that I can share with other people.”
He continued: “In a world as broken as the world we share, there is a common purpose on a film set. You don’t walk on it and hear ‘The Hills Are Alive’ [with the sound of music] is sung. Sets can be very tense places, but the bottom line is there’s a common goal and I’ve been lucky enough to be in movies where there’s a sense of togetherness and that’s great to experience.”
Speaking of great experiences, Farrell attended the premiere last night with his son, Henry, who stayed close to his father as he walked along the press line. “I’m so proud of him as a human being,” Farrell said during their rare red carpet outing together. “I am a big fan of his, I love him so much. I have two great boys. I am very, very lucky.”