Q&A: Colin Farrell talks Intenso, his ‘True Detective’ ‘stache, more

Colin Farrell is the face of Dolce & Gabbana's new Intenso scent, and the star of Season 2 of HBO's "True Detective."
(Dolce & Gabbana)

With disheveled hair and a devil-may-care approach to style as his trademarks, 38-year-old actor Colin Farrell may at first seem like an unlikely fragrance spokesman, particularly for a luxury fashion house. Yet it just might be the dashing Irishman’s forthright attitude that makes him so well-suited to be the face of Dolce & Gabbana’s latest men’s scent, Intenso, which is set to debut nationwide in March. “Sincerity is the key to the Dolce & Gabbana man’s elegance,” say designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in a statement about the fragrance.

And the timing is right. Farrell is in the spotlight, succeeding a fellow Dolce & Gabbana brand ambassador, actor Matthew McConaughey, in Season 2 of the HBO series “True Detective,” scheduled to begin airing this summer. Farrell also stars alongside Rachel Weisz in the film “The Lobster,” an Orwellian-style love story due out in March.

The straight-talking actor sat down at the Four Seasons hotel to discuss his new role with Dolce & Gabbana, fragrance, fashion, his buzzed-about hairstyles and staying fit.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me.


Thank you for talking to me. Both of us have no choice, right? We are contractually obliged.


For the Record

Feb. 20, 2:47 p.m.: An earlier version of this article omitted the first question and incorrectly included Farrell’s response elsewhere.


How would you describe Intenso? I would wear it.

I am done going through the minefield of trying to figure out the right and wrong things to say. I think [Intenso] is something that a woman could easily wear, because there is a lightness to it. It is masculine, but not musky, and it doesn’t have the density of a cologne. They were still working on the scent when I came on board. I completely trust the creative movements of Stefano and Domenico. They have been dressing me for the last decade or so. But I didn’t know what the scent would be, and I was so relieved when I smelled it for the first time. So relieved! Because if I hated it, I would have had to tell you that I loved it.

Are you a big fragrance guy?


Not at all. Never have been, so this is all new to me. But I do wear [Intenso] now because I really do love it.

Do you have any favorite scents?

Fresh-cut grass, big time. It reminds me of summer holidays in my youth, playing football with the lads on whatever patch of green grass we could find. Also lavender, because I remember my father teaching me how to catch a bee that was pollinating around the lavender stem. You just put your hand underneath. It doesn’t sting you. You just lift it up. Lavender takes me back to those days

What are five specific things that are always in your Dopp kit?


What is a Dopp kit, first? I don’t know what it is.... Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. A wash bag is so much less romantic than a Dopp kit. Toothpaste, a toothbrush, tea tree oil toothpicks, some form of moisturizer because I get all dry in the [face], and a little marble Buddha that someone gave me years ago.... I like totems.

My colleague referred to your " ‘70s-era porn stache.” Is that Ray Velcoro in “True Detective?” Any other style changes for the role?

Yes, and so I’m tied to [the ‘stache] now. Because of what I do for a living, I haven’t gotten my hair cut in a salon in 15 years. Between jobs, I just let it all grow out. I have a lot of gray in my hair and I wanted to have gray hair for “True Detective,” but it was hard because of dye jobs for other roles. I try to have as blank a canvas as possible when going into a new gig.

There is always buzz about your hair morphs — recently the “bundercut” [a buzz cut on the sides with a man bun on top]. Do you work with a stylist?


Really? Are you serious? Wow, I had no idea, man. No, a friend of mine, Sacha [Quarles] helps me out with my hair. It’s so pathetic to say that. But if I am going on the red carpet, wearing a nice suit from Dolce & Gabbana, I am useless. So he will come and do something, get a little creative.

If you are getting dressed in five minutes, do you have a go-to uniform?

Man, if I could live in pajamas, I would live in pajamas. I have been caught a few times going to the local coffee shop wearing pj’s. I’m just one of those [guys] who goes for comfort first. Pretty easy. Jeans and T-shirts or shirts. I am low-maintenance.

Is there anything that you would never, ever wear?


Yeah, I would not wear a fur coat. I wear leather boots and a leather jacket, but I don’t think I will be rocking mink.

How about staying fit? I hear that you once taught line dancing? Are you still into it?

No, I haven’t danced in a while, but I did in Limerick and Cork and Galway and Dublin with a line-dancing troupe in 1995 or 1996. Me and a bunch of other Irish folks wearing cowboy hats and cutoff sleeveless denim shirts. Tragic!

So these days you are into yoga and juicing?


Part of it is fear-based and wanting to live forever. I would like to live as long as possible because I’m really enjoying being alive. And I want to watch my two boys [11-year-old James and 5-year-old Henry] grow up and observe them figuring out what kind of men they want to be. I do really enjoy yoga and practice as much as I can. And I love getting up and hiking the trails in Griffith Park or wherever. But I [also] love cheeseburgers and pizza and Philly cheesesteaks and chocolate and Mexican Coca-Cola, so green juice is about offsetting that, more than anything, and trying to create some balance. Really, I love everything trashy.