Colin Farrell has admitted that he felt ‘death was around every corner’ as he battled freezing conditions and prowling polar bears while filming his latest TV show.
The Irish star plays whale hunter Henry Drax in the BBC drama The North Water, based on Ian McGuire’s novel of the same name.
Filming took place in the Arctic Ocean but the hostile environment was not the only thing the cast and crew had to worry about as they were also unable to stay in contact with their loved ones back home.
Farrell said: “None of us had been up to that part of the world before, we were all seeing it with child’s eyes.
“We all went through whatever we went through individually, missing our children, our lovers, our wives or husbands, because we had no communication, no email.
“It’s only three or four weeks but three or four weeks in a world in which we’re so used to having such accessibility at our fingertips.
“I found it really hard not to be able to be in contact with my guys, but it certainly created a bond between us all.”
Set in the 1850s, The North Water tells a story of a whaling expedition to the Arctic. Farrell plays the ship’s ruthless hunter, while British star Stephen Graham plays the ship’s captain, and Jack O’Connell plays a disgraced army doctor also on board.
The relationship between the men unravels as the series goes on, and shocking secrets are revealed.
The harsh filming environment was a challenge for the team and Farrell was always fully aware of the dangers around them.
He said: “I did feel that death was just around the corner at any given time, that we were just one mistake away from someone falling into the Arctic Sea and either very quickly getting hypothermia or sinking under the weight of the waterlogged costume.
“There were also polar bears around, that are beautiful and elegant and majestic but also apex predators.
“It was a very profound experience for us all to share.”
He did admit though that he and O’Connell took on the challenge of the Arctic dip and plunged themselves into the freezing waters.
He explained: “That was lovely, one of those rites-of-passage things, the polar dip. God, it was cold, to state the obvious, a dip in the Arctic ocean, but it was terrifying.
“I was in and out fast. It was cold.”
Farrell also added that he enjoyed playing the role of Henry Drax, whose heartless attitude was a constant feature of the story.
The In Bruges star added: “More than any character that I’ve ever played he is a character that lives without compunction. He has no apology for anything that he says, does or feels.
“It’s an extraordinary character to have the opportunity to play.”
The North Water is being broadcast on BBC and will also be available on their online streaming service. Take a look at the official trailer below.