How a Christ Hospital doctor turned Colin Farrell into a make-believe surgeon

Posted at 1:51 PM, May 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 08:13:00-04

CINCINNATI – A surgeon at Christ Hospital showed actor Colin Farrell the way to someone’s heart for his upcoming role.

Dr. Mario Castillo-Sang, a cardiac surgeon, said he made sure Farrell knew the operating room inside and out for his role as a surgeon in the film “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.”

The film’s poster

The film, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and co-starring Nicole Kidman, was secretly shot in Cincinnati last summer. It's billed as a psychological thriller with a supernatural element inspired by the works of ancient Greece tragedian Euripides.

Farrell plays a surgeon with a near-perfect life that begins to unravel after meeting a teenage boy with sinister intent. Kidman plays the surgeon's wife.

Farrell met with surgeons at Christ Hospital about a week before shooting started, hospital officials said.

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For Castillo-Sang, it was important to pass on to Farrell that surgeons want to be represented in the best way.

“I think I speak for all surgeons out there who watch TV shows about doctors, where they come into the operating inappropriately dressed or do things that a surgeon would never do,” he said.

Film crews shoot in Christ Hospital

Castillo-Sang said he took part in an operating scene in the film – but that’s about all he could say. He described the film as dark and interesting.

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One hospital employee impressed the director so much, he was given a speaking role.

Herb Callouet, executive director of Christ Hospital’s Joint and Spine Center, was giving Lanthimos a tour when the director offered him a role in the film as a hospital administrator.

“It was a got-to-be-kidding-me kind of moment,” he said. “I never thought in any way, shape or form what would come about.”

The film, which is expected to receive some Oscar buzz, is set to debut at the Cannes Film Festival Monday.