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I'm no more Mr Vice Guy

The bad boy of Hollywood, Colin Farrell, stars in Miami Vice in cinemas today.

DO NOT REUSE - Miami Vice

The bad boy of Hollywood, Colin Farrell, stars in Miami Vice in cinemas today. It's difficult to believe that Hollywood bad boy Colin Farrell first came to our attention as the shy Irish farmhand in the saccharine Sunday night TV show Ballykissangel.

He's probably had one of the biggest quantum leaps career-wise than almost any other actor.

In just a few short years the sexily dishevelled star has gone from virtual unknown to a major Hollywood player, earning a reputation as a hellraiser along the way.

And as befits a genuine wild, womanising party animal, he doesn't try and deny the tag.

"It's not really damaging to me," he says in his broad Dublin brogue, "I'm still here making movies. I don't think I've really changed in the last few years, I come from a background where being decent, down-to-earth and respecting people were priorities and that's still how I try to live my life."

Yet, the 30-year old's real life is, at times, more dramatic than the movies he stars in. After his stint in Ballykissangel, he headed for pastures new, and immediately found himself starring alongside some of the biggest names in the business, including Al Pacino in The Recruit and Tom Cruise in Minority Report. But it was his off-screen antics which kept the tabloids busy. After a short-lived marriage to actress Amelia Warner he made a beeline for some of Hollywood's hottest babes including Britney Spears, Demi Moore, Naomi Campbell and Angelina Jolie - to name just a few.

Recently, he spent time in rehab for exhaustion and addiction to prescribed medication but with typical laid-back Irish charm, calmly shrugs off the episode.

" Life is life. It comes with good and bad and ups and downs."

His decision to sober up and lead a healthier lifestyle has much to do with his two-year-old son James by former girlfriend Kim Bordenave.

"It's great to be a dad," he says, his dark eyes lighting up. "That first time you hold your baby in your arms. There's such a sense of love which washes over you. It's a beautiful and pure love, completely unconditional."

When he can tear himself away from baby James, Colin can pretty much pick and choose the movie offers on the table, but says his little boy has had a profound effect on the parts he accepts.

"I've realised after five years of being on the road that if I'm going to give four or five months of my life to something, it's four or five months of my life away from home, away from my son, so I better believe in what I'm doing."

One such project to tempt him back on to the big screen is the eagerly-awaited Miami Vice, a big screen version of the smash hit 80s TV show.

In this latest outing Colin reprises the role of Sonny Crockett, made famous by Don Johnson, while Oscar-winning Jamie Foxx steps into the shoes of Ricardo Tubbs, originally played by Philip Michael Thomas.

The series was as famous for the dodgy 80s clobber and bouffant hair worn by the two leads as it was for their crime-busting antics. But both Colin and Jamie got off lightly as the new version bears little resemblance to the original TV show.

In the old series, Johnson and Thomas were probably one of the most famous double acts on the box.

Colin and Jamie also bonded the moment they met.

"Luckily there was a deep kind of friendship and understanding between us that is born of sharing the same beliefs, just being there for each other and trusting one another," says Colin.

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