Indeed, there is something about his energy that seems to attract the metal of life – intensely good, at times intensely bad, and sometimes a little random.
This is how we end up, standing in the rain, his jacket slung in a gentlemanly fashion over my shoulders, both our left hands on the 'holy book’ of an Indian 'yogi’ who has accosted us outside Farrell’s London hotel during a cigarette break.
"You should never have a few drinks when you are doing heart surgery. Later on, his anaesthesiologist friend says, 'A surgeon can kill a patient but an anaesthesiologist never can'. Los Angeles is an incredible place and there are incredible support groups. "Everything in life, every industry is hard, especially with the potential for the amount of money that is on the table. I have yet to meet a person whose sobriety has made their life worse. I have yet to meet a person whose sobriety didn't make a better father, a better friend..." And a better actor? "Steven has been through the wringer," Colin says, concerned.
I think those two lines, rewritten by each character to relate to their own individual perspective, represent the pessimism that people are in it for their own good; that people are looking out for number one. To someone who is atheist they would say that is a cop out. I think there are greater things than the eye can see or the brain can even comprehend, especially when we are only using 10pc of the brain's capability. I could go mad for three, six months, and then I could pull back for a few months to try to re-enter the atmosphere. And if people think they can make a dime from you they will lavish you with great praise and gifts - and if the moment comes where they don't, they will f*** you out the door without a second's thought and without any concern for you. If you move in the right direction, however slow you move, once it is the right direction that is a good thing." Did sobriety make him a better dad? "About six weeks ago Steven got some tests done on a mole on his back.
I don't think there is one rule over every single person on the planet. I do think that people act from altruism and if somebody acts from altruism and they feel good about it, well, then the more cynical amongst us will go: 'Ah, they didn't do it selflessly! He feels every day that he is cradling the creation of human life, the human heart, so that he can perform surgery. Having said that, I don't find science and religion to be a dividing force. "I don't know what I am," he says returning to the original question of religious belief. You arrive wherever you arrive as a result of a thousand choices and happenstances. ' But if you see the grandchild every day it wouldn't be hugely dramatic. ' I kind of went through my whole life just to see where I made some choices and choices were based on fear; and how confused I may have been and I was trying to pretend that I wasn't confused. All that fear and all you went through is pretty normal, I say to him, except you did it in front of the eyes of the world. The brooding bad-boy of Hollywood was soon, inevitably, bent on self-destruction - he was swimming in a movie-star pool of booze, class A drugs, beautiful women and self-loathing and endless black-outs. I go on road trips and go to the cinema and hang out with my kids," he says. His first son, James Padraig, was born in 2003 - James's mother is the model Kim Bordenave - his second son, Henry, with his ex, Alicja Bachleda-Curus, is eight years old.) "I put on a bit of music. I just live it without being poison the way I was poison for years." Is it difficult to have that kind of self evolution in a town like Los Angeles where he lives? "Yeah," he says, now, "but I am sure I wouldn't have been saying that if the phone call I got on Saturday night was saying that the film was number one! Look, in every aspect of life, no matter what you do, whether you are coaching a football club or you are the head of a Fortune 500 company or what people might refer to as a movie star - whatever you may be - you just have to try and figure out what the true value of living is; and to have a fulfilling and decent life. "Cancel this whole interview if it leads you to think that! " But he is less all over the shop than he was, presumably? Then he went in and they did a biopsy and he was told that he had stage one cancer melanoma.It is safe to say that it is a book that would once have not been on his reading list.But Farrell the diehard sensualist, who seemed in constant orgiastic motion in tabloid photographs, is long gone; now 39, he is a dedicated convert to green juice and yoga.Yet rehab 10 years ago, seven years of sobriety and five of singledom have not made him anodyne.If he has evolved into a new man through a decade of abstention, he appears to be, in his freewheeling bonhomie at least, refreshingly unchanged.