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Colin Farrell and Yorgos Lanthimos on the ‘Awkward, Sinister’ World of ‘The Lobster’ Read More: Colin Farrell on the Humor and Horror of ‘The Lobster’

Published on:14:05:2016

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It’s the near-distant future and your husband or wife has left you. Instead of joining Tinder or OKCupid, you check into The Hotel. There you have 45 days to find a new partner, and if you fail you’re transformed into the animal of your choosing, then released into The Forest to live out your days. Is this a foreshadowing of our future? Maybe, but it’s also the plot of Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest film, The Lobster.

It’s a rare treat to experience a film as elaborate and original in concept as The Lobster, which tells a tragic and poignant story of romance with a warped, deadpan sense of humor. Those who’ve seen 2010’s Dogtooth — which follows three adult siblings who can’t leave home until their incisor falls out (hint: it doesn’t) — or Alps are familiar with the filmmaker’s absurdist comedy and dark look at human behavior. In The Lobster, Lanthimos and his writing partner Efthymis Filippou explore society’s fixation with couples and co-dependence through Colin Farrell’s David, a middle-aged single man who opts to become the titular crustacean should he fail to find love.

I sat down with Farrell and Lanthimos in a lavish hotel lounge in midtown Manhattan, which didn’t feel far from the polished settings of David’s residence. Farrell and Lanthimos discussed David (who’s miles from any character Farrell has played before), blending violence and tragedy with humor, and what animal they’d choose to become in real life.

Yorgos, this film has some similarities to Dogtooth, but is of a much bigger scale. With your films, does the writing process start by focusing on the dark humor or the social worlds on which you’re commenting?

Lanthimos: I’ve been working very closely with a friend of mine, Efthymis Filippou. We wrote Dogtooth and The Lobster together. We both have a very particular way of approaching things and we found that we could work together well. It starts with a dialogue about things we’re interested in, situations we’ve observed, a glimpse of a situation that might seem interesting. Then we just try and put that into the context of a story or situation. […] The tone each time, it’s mostly dictated by theme. We never decide, “This film is going to be much funnier, or this is going to be much darker.” For some reason it reveals itself. Obviously our films probably have a similar fabric in tone, but I think they are quite different. And it’s not a conscious decision. It’s the theme that leads us to writing them in a certain way.

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