In writer-director Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths, Colin Farrell plays a screenwriter named Marty who’s struggling to write a script about…seven psychopaths. As the violent, funny jape goes on, life and art begin to merge. Psychopaths’ eponymous septet also includes Sam Rockwell as Marty’s amoral friend and Woody Harrelson as a shih tzu–loving gangster.
I wondered if this began as a film about writer’s block, about your difficulty trying to follow In Bruges.
Sadly, no. That’s a bit of a red herring. I’ve never really had writer’s block. Colin’s character is more on the lazy side of writer’s block than true writer’s block. I’m not sure that really exists. I just think you need to get through the shit stuff to keep going.
But naming the character Marty—
[Laughs] Yes, we do throw those things in. When you’re dealing with issues and ideas that are similar to mine—and you kind of want to fuck with an audience, too—then I think it’s the natural thing to do.
You watch this film, you see a little Tarantino, a little Adaptation.
Strangely, it was more almost like a war between trying to do a Peckinpah movie and a Terrence Malick movie.
With psychopaths? I don’t think Terrence Malick—
Badlands has got a pretty strong psychopath. You could probably say Nick Nolte in Thin Red Line. It’s kind of a broad comedy, so it doesn’t come across quite as heavily, but Marty is trying to come up with something that’s more about peace and love than it is about darkness and lightness. Which is the way Terrence has gone. (Available on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray Tue 29.)