Colin Farrell takes his donkey for a walk in exclusive new Banshees of Inisherin image

Martin McDonagh's latest, The Banshees Of Inisherin, is a spiritual sequel to modern classic In Bruges, and follows the triumph of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It’s the story of two friends in 1923 Ireland – amiable Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and grumpy Colm (Brendan Gleeson) – whose relationship spirals from pub banter to violent one-upmanship (fingers snipped off with shears) when Colm decides one day he no longer wants to be mates. The film received rapturous reviews at Venice as much for a trademark sharp, dark script and gorgeous vistas as the revived chemistry of its In Bruges stars. McDonagh’s first film after a series of well-received plays, In Bruges created a brotherhood in Farrell, Gleeson, and McDonagh, and they had remained friends years after the project.

"It was kind of a cult hit at the time but that’s grown exponentially since then. So we also had, in the back of our minds, that you don’t want to fuck with that or ruin that by making anything that wasn’t as good," says McDonagh of trying to repeat the magic trick 14 years later in the new issue of Total Film magazine, featuring Enola Holmes 2 on the cover.

The Banshees of Inisherin

(Image credit: Searchlight)

Though McDonagh showed Gleeson an early draft over dinner, he threw out his initial script to start again, keeping only the first five pages of the first screenplay intact. "The place it went to in that version was dull, and almost too plotty," recalls McDonagh. "I was in a breakup place of mind when I jumped into it again, so in just imbuing the sadness of that into this, it almost made it write itself in lots of ways. I’d never done that before, written in a place of sadness, so every day, it was like: ‘This is good, this is good. Now I’ll have a cry.’ But I think that’s one of the things I like about it. That sadness stayed on screen."

Despite the movie's star power (Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon also star), the show's stolen by one particular animal: Jenny, the miniature donkey. "Adorable Jenny, she had a friend with her, because she was so young," says Condon. "And the other donkey was a bit older and more confident. So she was like, 'If Rosie’s close by, then I’m OK.' Rosie was the understudy, almost, who’d wait in the wings. And if Jenny could see Rosie she was grand. She was cute, though she gave Colin a fecking kick in the knee one of the days. So she wasn’t that nice to him. A diva."

The Banshees of Inisherin

(Image credit: Searchlight)

You can read more from the team behind The Banshees of Inisherin – which hits UK cinemas on October 18 – in the new issue of Total Film when it hits stands (and digital devices) this Thursday, October 13. The issue also features our in-depth interviews with the Enola Holmes 2 cast, along with a career retrospective with Daniel Radcliffe and features on The Banshees of Inisherin and Bill Nighy's Living.

Total Film's Enola Holmes 2 issue

(Image credit: Netflix/Total Film)

And if you’re a fan of Total Film, why not subscribe so that you never miss an issue? You’ll have it delivered to your door before it’s in shops, you’ll save money on the cover price, and you’ll get exclusive subscriber-only covers. Plus, with the current offer you can get a free pair of EarFun headphones worth £55. Head to MagazinesDirect to find out more (Ts and Cs apply).

Total Film's subscriber offer

(Image credit: Total Film)
Editor-in-Chief, Total Film

Jane Crowther is the Editor of Total Film magazine and the Editor-in-Chief of the Film Group here at Future Plc, which covers Total Film, SFX, and numerous TV and women's interest brands. Jane is also the vice-chair of The Critics' Circle and a BAFTA member. You'll find Jane on GamesRadar+ exploring the biggest movies in the world and living up to her reputation as one of the most authoritative voices on film in the industry.