Barry Keoghan's Tragic Childhood Still Follows Him Today

He’s been in Oscar-winning movies. He’s been in superhero blockbusters. He’s been hailed as the new Daniel Day-Lewis. He’s Barry Keoghan, and he’s beyond all shadow of a doubt a Hollywood success story. And he has a truly remarkable past: he had to overcome severe hardship before finding fame, and it made him the person he is today.

Early career

Keoghan’s career is really still in its early stages, but he’s already appeared in a great many popular and successful movies. He has the sort of resume most actors would kill for, and he’s just getting started.

In 2017 alone he was in two big films: The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Dunkirk. Two years later he was nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award, and he’s continued his ascent from there.

Further rise

In the ’20s Keoghan started appearing in superhero films, always big box office draws. First, he played the immortal Druig in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Eternals, directed by Chloe Zhao.

“This is not someone who’s afraid to put everything that he is onscreen — the good, bad, and ugly,” Zhao told GQ magazine in 2024. “That’s actually a lot rarer than you think.”


Before being cast in Eternals, Keoghan had actually put in a little plea to Marvel’s Stan Lee on Twitter. In 2013, back when he was still an unknown name, he had written on the platform, “Stan Lee, please make me a SuperHero :)”

And this wasn’t some forgotten, throwaway line, either. As soon as the Eternals casting news was released to the public, Keoghan revisited his 2013 post and appended the phrase, “The power of belief.”

Iconic role

In 2022 it transpired that Keoghan had been cast in what has become, in recent years, one of the most iconic roles in cinema: that of the Joker from the Batman franchise.

The character was in the credits as “Unseen Arkham Prisoner” but director Matt Reeves confirmed he was the Joker. It seems certain that Keoghan will play a big part in the Batman franchise going forward.