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ROME (Reuters) - Hollywood stars don't usually like to talk about their professional flops, especially when not asked about them.
But Colin Farrell defied his "bad boy" reputation on Tuesday by speaking about his disappointment with the poor reviews and box office sales of "Alexander," Oliver Stone's 2004 film in which the actor played the bleached-blond conqueror.
The admission was all the more surprising as it came after gushing praise by a news conference moderator at the Rome film festival, who said he had seen Farrell calm an agitated horse on the set of Alexander by talking to it.
"Alexander hurt, you know -- and again people are going to say 'Get over it, you were well paid' and all that. But Alexander hurt," Farrell told reporters.
"The response that it got was really painful and all of us got a really hard time, and I didn't come across too well either in the majority of reviews and even with the audiences -- people did not respond to it.
"It was a film that was made to be seen by many people. Not many people saw it and they weren't particularly fond of it, and that was s----, it was really s----," he said.
Farrell, along with co-stars Angelina Jolie and Val Kilmer, was nominated for worst actor for his portrayal of the ancient Greek military leader at the 2005 Razzie awards, which recognize what its organizers deem the worst films of the year.
The film, with a budget estimated at $155 million, grossed $34 million at home, said tracking site www.boxofficemojo.com.
"I took it to heart. I felt like I had let a lot of people down, I felt like I had disappointed a lot of people ... And it took a while to get over that," Farrell said.
Sporting shoulder-length hair, the 32-year old Irish actor -- in Rome to present cop drama "Pride and Glory" -- said he had now come to terms with the failure.
"I probably got a bit disillusioned after that. I think only in the last couple of years starting with 'Pride and Glory' has that disillusionment ceased to be something that is still present in my life regarding the work," he said.
Farrell stars opposite Edward Norton and Jon Voight in "Pride and Glory," the portrait of a police family which find itself on opposite sides of a corruption scandal.
The movie opened at a disappointing no. 5 at the North American box office at the weekend and has had mixed reviews.
It is the only U.S. film in the main competition at the Rome festival, which this year has a light Hollywood presence.
Editing by Paul Casciato