The Batman is now officially making its theatrical run, to the delight of fans all over the world. Earning the second-best opening weekend at the box office of the pandemic era, Robert Pattinson’s solo movie is quickly becoming a hit for Warner Bros as the studio kicks off 2022. Even with outstanding performances all around, actor Barry Keoghan has taken the spotlight thanks to his inclusion in the film.
Over the past year, Keoghan found a place as a comic book movie mainstay, having first played the mind-controlling Druig in Marvel Studios' Eternals from November 2021. His performance earned rave reviews thanks to his emotional delivery and his chemistry with Lauren Riddloff's Makkari, all while he had a DC role waiting in the wings as well.
While he was originally cast as Officer Stanley Merkel immediately after DC FanDome 2020, rumors pointed to his real role being this universe's Joker in the final cut of The Batman. Now, following the DC film's long-anticipated debut, Keoghan officially spoke on the truth behind his inclusion in the cast.
Barry Keoghan on The Batman Role
Warning - this article contains spoilers for The Batman.
In an interview with Esquire Middle East, actor Barry Keoghan spoke about his time working on Warner Bros.' The Batman.
While he couldn't publicly confirm his role as the Joker, Keoghan praised director Matt Reeves and shared how big of a fan he is of Batman and the whole universe. He compared Reeves to Eternals director Chloe Zhao for his ability to make actors feel comfortable on set, while also expressing love for the rest of the case:
"He’s brilliant, man. And Matt Reeves and Dylan Clark, especially, together, were amazing to me– really, really amazing to me. And, you know, getting to be part of the Batman universe is [a huge deal for me]. I’m a fanboy of these movies, and especially the Batman universe. So to be in that world, I’m still pinching myself. He’s a filmmaker I hugely admire as well. And to get to walk alongside him and see how he works, and seeing much like Chloe Zhao, how comfortable he makes you on set, and he gives you the time you need and what you want. I’m in such a blessed position. And to get to work alongside Colin Farrell again—I know I wasn’t with Colin in that scene, but that cast as well… Zoë, Rob, all of them."
Keoghan also specifically touched on being "a huge, huge fan" of Riddler actor Paul Dano while entertaining the similar energy that they both share:
Esquire: "How was working with Paul Dano in that scene?"
Keoghan: "Paul is–I’m a huge, huge fan of Paul. He’s such a good dude as well. I’ve watched all of his movies, like Prisoners and stuff like that. People say that we’re kind of alike as well, and I’m like, are we?"
Esquire: "There’s an energy."
Keoghan: "Yeah, absolutely."
The conversation turned to Keoghan's past work on Killing of a Sacred Deer, which the actor hoped that Reeves enjoyed before they started working together:
Esquire: "Was Matt Reeves a fan of Killing of a Sacred Deer?"
Keoghan: "I think so. Yeah, I think so. I hope so, yeah."
Esquire: "I know with Robert he was big on Good Time."
Keoghan: "Yeah, of course, Good Time. He and Dylan Clark are amazing with that stuff."
Although he was asked about Reeves taking inspiration for Keoghan's portrayal of the Joker from 1928's The Man Who Laughs, Keoghan couldn't dive into the specifics of the role just yet. Keoghan then confirmed that even he hasn't seen the cut Joker scene in The Batman:
Esquire: "Matt Reeves has said he was very much inspired for your character by The Man Who Laughs."
Keoghan: "I can’t really go into that. All I can say -is that] it was joy to work with Matt and Dylan Clark on that movie. That’s all."
Esquire: "Matt also said there’s an extra scene that’s going to come out as well."
Keoghan: "I want to see that as well."
Esquire: "You haven’t seen it yet?"
Esquire: "Can’t wait until he shares it then. Thank you."
Keoghan: "Thank you, man."
Keoghan Teases His Role as Joker
While this isn't exactly a confirmation that Keoghan is playing the Joker in The Batman's universe, these quotes do nothing to dissuade fans and viewers from that idea.
The dual MCU/DCU star only appeared on screen for about a minute in Arkham Asylum alongside Paul Dano's Riddler in one of the movie's final scenes. There wasn't a great look at his face in the dim light, but looking at the obvious scarring on his face and listening to the eerie laugh he gave, there is almost no doubt that this is the new Clown Prince of Crime.
Even as Keoghan avoided confirming his place as the 21st century's fourth live-action Joker on film, seeing his excitement about joining a Batman movie is truly special. The Irish actor is quickly becoming a name to watch out for in comic book movies, and if his minimal screentime in The Batman is anything to go on, he'll be around for a long time.
The question now is where fans may see the Joker pop up again, especially with this scene with Dano being his only time in the universe thus far.
Matt Reeves has already teased a potential spot for Keoghan in an upcoming HBO Max series while also laying out where the role could go in potential sequels to The Batman. Regardless of the details, and no matter what happens with Keoghan's role in the MCU, it seems that the Joker will be back for another round of mayhem.
The Batman is now playing in theaters worldwide.