This post contains spoilers for Everything Everywhere All At Once
Look, no one would argue that Everything Everywhere All at Once is a simple, easy-to-follow movie. The multiverse romp stars Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Wang, a dissatisfied laundromat operator who finds herself adopting attributes from selves of alternate realities to escape the deadly Jobu Tupaki. Directed by Daniels, aka Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once’s mix of absurdist maximalism and open-hearted sincerity has made it the highest grossing movie ever released by A24 and an awards-season favorite.
That enthusiasm was recently shared by Colin Farrell, who is also getting some awards buzz, not only for his lead role in the gentle sci-fi picture After Yang, but also for his scene-stealing turn as the Penguin in The Batman and as a simple Irish man in The Banshees of Inisherin. Talking with Everything Everywhere star Jamie Lee Curtis as part of Variety‘s Actors on Actors series, Farrell praised the scene in which Wang and her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) appear in one reality as rocks with googly eyes. Despite its oddball nature, Farrell called the moment, “one of the best-written and performed scenes.”
Although happy to take the compliment, Curtis did draw the line when Farrell referred to “two little plasticine animated rocks talking to each other.” Pausing the Irish actor’s reverie, Curtis corrected him by saying, “I don’t think they were animated, friend.” Taken aback, Farrell asked, “Were they Play-Doh?” to which Curtis simply replied, “I think they were rocks.”
This momentary confusion aside, Farrell did key into the movie’s central theme, that of showing kindness and mercy, even after making poor choices. “But then, ultimately, the strain that was heard at the end was one of simplicity, one of redemption, one of forgiveness,” he explained. “To get over regret, I suppose, you have to forgive yourself; but if you live in it so long, it can almost become a sin against the self, depending on how it’s articulated. Everyone got a second chance.”
The Banshees of Inisherin may be a far less complicated movie, the story of an Irish villager (Brendan Gleeson) who suddenly decides he no longer wants to spend time with his best friend (Farrell), but Curtis found its themes to be similarly moving and relatable. “I’m at that place right now where the time is much shorter that I have left on the earth,” explained Curtis. “And that resonated so deeply. Because, ultimately, you’re going to have to say to some people, ‘I don’t want to be your friend anymore’.” No matter how different they may seem, Curtis declared, Everything Everywhere and Banshees are “two movies are about the human condition.”
Unfortunately, the duo only had a few minutes to chat about Farrell’s next project, in which he reprises his role as Oswald Cobblepot for the HBO Max series The Penguin. Co-starring Cristin Milioti — who also knows a thing or two about emotional sci-fi oddities after staring in Palm Springs — The Penguin dives deeper into the criminal underworld Matt Reeves established in The Batman.
In fact, The Penguin only comes up when Curtis mentions it after Farrell complains about the state of Hollywood. “Three Spider-Mans. Ninety-nine percent of us are unemployed,” he quipped. Is Farrell once again confused about a project, this time not realizing that The Penguin is a superhero baddie? As both Everything Everywhere and Banshees makes clear, there’s forgiveness for every mistake, even for actors.