Colin Farrell

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When Edward Norton pulled out of World War II movie Hart's War, the director enlisted Irish upstart Colin Farrell to fill the void. "If that's part of the reason I got it I couldn't care less," says Colin. "For whatever reason the stars have aligned themselves in the right place at the right time. I'm loving what I'm doing now, so I'm just going to see what happens."

Back in 1999 Colin auditioned for a small Joel Schumacher project called Tigerland in London. And while he hadn't read the script, the former Ballykissangel hunk used his charm to good effect and landed himself a callback. With the help of his sister, Colin video-taped his best Texas drawl after downing a few pints and sent the tape off to the Hollywood heavyweight. A short while later, the Batman Forever director placed an early-morning call to the actor, saying: "Wanna make a movie?". Such was the end of Colin's relative obscurity.

And while Tigerland earned a paltry $140,000 at the US box office, the name Colin Farrell was suddenly on every casting agent's lips. Betting house Ladbrokes was even taking bids on when he'd land on the cover of Vanity Fair - his smouldering gaze was eventually to grace the front of the Hollywood bible in June.

"It's mad. None of this was planned," says the 5ft 11in actor of his sudden Hollywood stardom. "I always just auditioned for jobs and hoped I did well, so I could move on to the next step. Now I've skipped so many rungs on the ladder, and I'm working with Cruise and Spielberg. It's insane."

Colin was born on March 31, 1976, in Dublin, to Eamon Farrell, a former professional footballer, and his wife Rita. The youngest of four children, he originally planned to follow in his father's tracks, but Colin enjoyed a good time too much and found the idea of rigorous training daunting. Instead, the man with a penchant for colourful four-letter words spent a year travelling Down Under.

Upon returning home he shifted gears, enrolling at the Gaiety School of Drama. But, not a great fan of college, he soon dropped out. Stage roles at London's famed Donmar Warehouse, where he was spotted by Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, who earmarked him for a later film, would follow, as did television roles. Then Colin made the leap to film and never looked back.

The self-assured actor went on to appear in a stream of high-profile flicks, including Minority Report with Spielberg and Cruise, Phone Booth playing a role once linked to Jim Carrey and American Outlaws, as the famed hero of the American West, Jesse James.

But it was clear the Hollywood scene and fast rise to fame and fortune were taking their toll. He finally checked into a rehabilitation clinic after collapsing at the Miami Vice wrap party in Uruguay. "I was burning the candle at both ends and the flames met in the middle," he confessed.

On the romance front, long before he was linked to numerous high-profile names in the music and cinema industries, Colin shocked close friends by secretly walking down the aisle in July 2001 with 19-year-old English actress Amelia Warner. The pair tied the knot in a romantic Pacific island resort, but four months later the union was over. Then in September 2003 Colin became a father following a relationship with model Kim Bordenave. "I'm chuffed and over the moon," enthused the star.

Fatherhood has also given the actor a new focus on life. "My priority, first and foremost, is the little fellow," he explained. "Talk about falling in love. It's bizarre to fall in love and know it's going to last. That's what it feels like for me - it's like nothing can come between us."
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