Unlike McDonagh’s prior directorial efforts (“In Bruges,” “Seven Psychopaths,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), “The Banshees of Inisherin” is a period piece. It takes place in 1920s rural Ireland, where the locals make their living with all manner of farm animals. In Farrell’s case, that meant working with Jenny, a donkey who didn’t take so kindly to him starting out. He explained to Empire:
“Ah, Jenny [the donkey] was tricky. It was her first film, but she acted like it was her 100th. She was kind of over it. Kind of jaded. She didn’t like her nose being touched, I found out. She kicked me in the knee. But that was my fault. I got too close to her.”
By comparison, Farrell has a far better time getting on with a horse named Minnie. “Minnie was great. Minnie proved that there’s no such thing as small parts, just small actors,” he joked. However, Farrell once again ran into a spot of trouble with the dog who played Gleeson’s furry BFF in the film:
“And [Gleeson’s] dog! I f***ing got bitten by [his] f***ing dog! I still have the scar. The donkey kicked me, the dog bit me…”
If anything, though, it sounds like Farrell might have preferred his animal-related injuries to the emotional ones he suffered making such a brutal break-up movie. “It’s a pain in the heart,” he told Empire, laughing as he did. It seems he had a similar experience making “In Bruges,” which comes as no surprise given its own tragicomical bent. Farrell explained:
“[McDonagh] offers these things to you that are very specific. He wants you to go inside yourself. The work comes home with you.”
“The Banshees of Inisherin” opens in theaters on October 21, 2022.