Colin Farrell’s Latin

I planned to do some research in the Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa Library.

The library was eerie, the first floor under construction with plastic sheets for walls and wires popping out everywhere.

The Special Collections rooms on the third floor were closed.  It hadn’t occurred to me that they would be closed on Saturday.

It was raining so hard that I didn’t feel up to leaving the library right away.

I lounged around on the fourth floor with some classical journals.  I read a few articles and reviews.  And then I came across an article that all of you will want to read, because it is very, very funny: Monica S. Cyrino’s “I Was Colin Farrell’s Latin Teacher” (Classical Journal, Feb./March 2012, Vol. 107/No. 3).

Monica S. Cyrino, a classics professor at the University of New Mexico with an interest in film, received an e-mail from a producer asking her to write a few lines of Latin dialogue for Colin Farrell.  He was playing a vampire in  a remake of the movie, Fright Night. (The film was being shot in New Mexico because of the state’s tax breaks.)

Colin Farrell in Fright NIght

Colin Farrell in Fright Night (2011)

Farrell, who is a bibliophile (one of Cyrino’s students spotted him buying poetry books at a Barnes and Noble), thought his seduction lines would be sexier in Latin.  As he dropped onto a dance floor and whisked away a teenage girl, he was supposed to say:  “You just need a taste.  You’ll see.  It can be like a dream.”

Cyrino translates the Latin with a graduate students, and is invited onto the set to meet Farrell, but there is a lot of hanging around, and since Farrell, his stand-in, and his stunt double all wear black jeans and a black shirt, it is difficult to tell one from another.

She has just reached into a cooler to get a bottle of Evian when Joy Ellison, his vocal coach, brings Farrell over to meet her.  “Nice to meet you, love!”

My hand was still stuck in the cooler.  I yanked it out and held it in front of me, dripping wet and frozen, and for a minute I was in a state of acute aporia.  Should I wipe my soaking hand on the $300 cashmere top that I had so insouciantly donned for the day?  Or should I give my cold, wet hand to Alexander the Great?

Colin Farrell, Alexander

Colin Farrell, Alexander

Colin laughingly shakes her hand.

“You’re on set all day, right, love?  Will you be here later so we can talk about the Latin scene?”

Later they go over the sexy Latin together, and he asks her if they can reverse the last two words, so the line ends with the word somnia (dreams):  Solum necesse est sapias.  Percipies.  Par ac somnia.

“It doesn’t change the meaning, now does it, love?”

And she immediately thinks he knows Latin, because how else would he know that?

“Nah, love…They stopped Latin and corporal punishment the year before I came up…and ya see how I turned out?”

All right, now here’s what I’m thinking.  He’s teasing her!  Because, honestly, if he doesn’t know any Latin, why would he want Latin in a vampire movie? How would he know about the Latin word order?

Doesn’t this sound like a dream?

(The Latin lines were cut from the film.)