COLIN FARRELL has defended the use of the N-word in his latest film for its authenticity.
The Dublin actor explained how the usage of the racial slur in Steve McQueen's new heist drama Widows was suitable to the storyline while promoting the thriller at Toronto Film Festival.
The expletive features in a scene where Farrell's character, Tom Mulligan, has a violent argument with his politician father, Jack Mulligan (Robert Duvall).
"It’s the weakness sometimes of what people who claim to be strong, perceive as weakness, is where the seeds of change lives," Farrell told a press conference for the film.
"The majority of, if not all the wrongdoings, in the world take place in silent conversations. ... So this is a conversation that been going on between him and his father".
The Irishman added that Tom comes across only marginally better than his father when he barely flinches in reaction to his racially-charged rant.
"Not to defend him, but God bless Jack Mulligan, because the slightest tilt of his head when his father uses that N-word is about all that man (Tom) can manage at that point," Farrell insisted of his deeply flawed character.
McQueen, in his first film since 2013's Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, also defended the use of the racial slur for authenticity.
"We're no fools. We have to project reality onscreen, because that's what art is about," McQueen said.
"We have to transform it and reveal it."
Based on the 1980s British TV series of the same name, Widows stars Farrell's compatriot Liam Neeson as well as Viola Davis and Michelle Rodriguez in telling the story of four women who band together to repay a debt left by their criminally-connected dead husbands.