For the absurdist thriller The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which won Best Screenplay at Cannes Film Festival, Colin Farrell reunites with The Lobster filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos. Thinking back to how they first met, Farrell laughs that he wasn't Lanthimos' first choice for the latter movie. 

Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell star in 'The Killing Of A Sacred Deer'Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell star in 'The Killing Of A Sacred Deer'

"There was another actor that was going to be in The Lobster originally," Farrell says, "a really lovely actor whose work I really like. And I think his schedule got screwy and I capitalised! But when I first read The Lobster, I couldn't understand how anyone could say this s**t and make it believable. But in a good way! And now Yorgos is foolish enough to come back to the well for the second time."

With The Killing of a Sacred Deer, in which he stars with Nicole Kidman as a couple facing a rather mind-boggling revenge plot, Farrell particularly enjoyed how the film is essentially a black comedy that turns very, very grim. "There's this dark cloud that descends that gets darker and darker," he says. "Just really, really bleak! I mean, it's pretty hopeless. Put that on the poster: 'The feel-bad movie of the year!' But Yorgos creates an environment that's quite calm, more quiet than any other film set I've worked on, but it's just the tone of the character."

To prepare for his role as a cardiologist, Farrell attended an actual heart bypass surgery. "It was disturbing and fascinating," he says. "But I turned green and had to step out of the room."

Farrell also costarred with Kidman in The Beguiled this year, and he says the two films were shot with only a short break in between. "We had a hug and said, 'See you in three weeks,'" Farrell says of finishing up Sacred Deer in Cincinnati before heading to New Orleans to make The Beguiled. "She's easy. I enjoyed it. She's brilliant as all that!"

Throughout his career, Farrell has alternated big blockbusters with smaller arthouse movies. While he's focussing more on more offbeat projects at the moment, he says that's not some sort of career plan. "Just the studios stopped calling," he laughs. "But if anything, that was an absolute blessing. I was kind of led, and I blame myself for this, down the path of this big one, this big one, this big one more often than not."

More: 'The Killing Of A Sacred Deer' was among Cannes Film Festival's best movies

And now that he's a father of two sons, he is becoming aware that films like The Killing of a Sacred Deer aren't particularly family friendly. So he's currently filming Disney's live-action remake of Dumbo, directed by Tim Burton.