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extreme Filmmaking Colin Farrell says he's relieved 'nobody died' while filming new Arctic drama The North Water

'I had no reference to that part of the world or how borderline clinically insane Andrew [Haigh, director] is when he’s in pursuit of truth'


Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell has said that he felt relieved that nobody died while filming his new Arctic BBC drama.

The Irish actor will play harpooner Henry Drax in The North Water, an upcoming drama series based on Ian McGuire’s novel of the same name.

Members of the cast and production team sailed as far as 81 degrees north and 500 miles south of the pole to film sequences for the show, the furthest point north it is believed a drama series has ever filmed before according to the BBC.

During production, the star-studded cast – including Farrell, Skins actor Jack O’Connell , and Stephen Graham (This is England) - pushed themselves to physical extremes filming on floating pack ice and open waters.

Dubliner Colin Farrell admitted that it was a miracle that nobody died on set.

“I had no reference to that part of the world or how borderline clinically insane Andrew [Haigh, director] is when he’s in pursuit of truth,” he told The Guardian.

“He’s not genteel, he’s a f*****g animal, but he’s deeply kind. That said, the day they said: ‘We’re heading back to open water,’ I’ll never forget the relief I felt that nobody died.”

The 45-year-old added that he put immense pressure on himself to get in shape to play Henry Drax, sometimes going against medical advice to reach his goals.

He explained: “I’ve never played a character with so little compunction or apology or who does things this despicable.

“I ate a lot and lifted some heavy weights. I looked at Victorian boxers and dockers, trying to get the belly and the muscle. It was not done under the supervision of medical professionals at all and was really ill advised.”

The 45-year-old said that filming The North Water was “life-changing” because they were telling a brutal story in a beautiful setting.

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“With this, we were telling a very ugly story in a very beautiful place. The vastness was extreme, the danger was extreme, the proximity was extreme. It was life-changing.

“This has blood, seal and whale killings, murder, rape, mayhem. But however brutal that seems, it’s a film set. It’s all artifice.”

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