In the new thriller "Dead Man Down," which hits theaters Friday, Colin Farrell plays a man hellbent on avenging the death of his family. He joins the star and director of the original "GIrl With the Dragon Tattoo" -- Noomi Rapace and Niels Arden Oplev, respectively -- in the suspenseful crime drama.

Although Farrell's known for darker movies, like "In Bruges" and "Seven Psychopaths," he revealed exclusively to Moviefone that he is, surprisingly, "not a big fan of violence." He also talked about the bleakness of European movies versus Hollywood's happy endings and how co-star Rapace is "delightfully intense."

Moviefone: What was your reaction when you first read the script?Colin Farrell: I liked it. I've done a lot of films -- for some reason unbeknownst to me, as much as I ask myself why -- that contain great passages of violence and a lot of gunplay. I'm not a big fan of violence, so when I read it, I was like, "Oh, God." But there was something about the character, and something about the loneliness, and something about what he had come from and where the story took him that I found intriguing. It provoked empathy in me, which is always what you're looking for.

As much as it's a crime thriller -- that's what it's been sold as -- a lot of why I was into it was the love story at the center. These two very lonely, very fractured people coming together for reasons of violence that end up together for reasons of love and healing and saying goodbye to violence by the end of the film.

You have this sort of "Rear Window" romance, where you see each other every day before you ever really meet. That conceit was really cool: the idea of these two people being aware of each other's existence but suspiciously not knowing exactly what the other knew. They're living in these apartments that are separated by twenty yards, and the voyeurism inherent in that dynamic. That was a lovely conceit, and I thought it was quite cinematic.

What can you tell us about working with Noomi? I loved working with her. I felt I had such a really cool dance partner. She's delightfully intense, not in a heavy way, but just incredibly focused on the work. She loved the story and she loved the relationship between Victor and her character, Beatrice. I think we share very many of the same opinions on our characters and each other's characters. I felt like we held each other's hand through the whole telling of the story. She's incredibly present when you're working.

Your character is so fatalistic. The whole movie reminded me of classic Polanski, in a way. That's cool. I'll take that.

It's written by a Canadian (J.H. Wyman of "Fringe" and "The Mexican"), but you're European, so are Noomi and the director. Do you think that Europeans -- like Hitchcock and Polanski -- tend to do darker films than Americans? I don't think there is the same level of thirst or hunger for the superficial in cinema in Europe the way there is in America. I don't mean that as a slight or any statement on American society or anything like that, but there's "lunch box cinema" in America that I think is more prevalent than there is in Europe. And when I say "lunch box cinema," I mean anything with an action hero, which can be really smart films and really well rendered. And they all go to Europe and we enjoy them in Europe.

But I think maybe there's a higher level of austerity to some European films if you were to count them, I suppose. This is a marriage of both.

Joel Wyman, who wrote the script (I think he's from Montreal), he's got a North American sensibility, and then you have Niels, who directed it, who comes from Denmark, who has a very particular sensibility to him, which is clear to see in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." But I always find it hard, people asking me. Essentially, it's the same thing. You can draw lines and boundaries between and try to decipher the differences, and delineate between both, but essentially, you're telling a story, whether it is "The Avengers" or "Rear Window" or "The Seventh Seal."

Dead Man Down Movie Poster
Dead Man Down
Based on 24 critics

Rising gangland player Victor (Colin Farrell) infiltrates the criminal empire run by Alphonse (Terrence... Read More

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