You’d be living under a rock if you haven’t heard the name of Barry Keoghan yet. At the age of only 25, the Irish actor has accomplished a lot, proving himself a fierce talent and definitely one to watch. Below we summarise Keoghan's career and look at his upcoming role in 'American Animals' to show just why he’s on the up and up.
Though Keoghan's first TV gig was on ‘Fair City’, the Dublin-born actor had his breakthrough role in the acclaimed series ‘Love/Hate’. His character Wayne violently crashed into audiences’ lives when he killed a cat in the very first episode he appeared in. It put him on par with the show’s other vicious characters played by the likes of Tom Vaughan-Lawlor and Peter Coonan.
From there, Keoghan booked gig after gig, frequently starring opposite some of the biggest actors working today. Only last year, he starred in ‘Trespass Against Us’ with Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson, and ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ with Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell and Alicia Silverstone. The latter performance, which saw him play a young man who becomes more and more enveloped in the lives of his doctor’s family, won the actor an Irish Film and Television Award. He also featured on industry bible ‘Variety’'s annual 10 Actors To Watch list in 2017, a list which also included ‘Get Out’'s Daniel Kaluuya and ‘The Big Sick’'s Kumail Nanjiani.
Keoghan’s biggest film to date though has undoubtedly been the war epic ‘Dunkirk’, which was directed by the legendary Christopher Nolan and co-starred Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh. He's got more on the way too, as last month it was announced that he has been cast as the lead in a new comic book adaptation in 'Y: The Last Man'.
Keoghan has proven his talent for playing both the creepy villain, in the likes of ‘Love/Hate’ and ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’, and the devoted but somewhat naïve young man, in the film ‘Dunkirk’. Interestingly, his next role falls somewhere in between, as he plays an art student who participates in a heist that becomes increasingly morally complex.
‘American Animals’ is written and directed by Bart Layton, best-known for the award-winning doc ‘The Imposter’. The latest from the filmmaker sees him make a break into narrative features. Layton explores just what is meant by the term 'Based on a true story' in the film.
Keoghan plays Spencer Reinhard, one of four students who attempted an audacious heist which involved stealing priceless books from a university library in Kentucky. He stars opposite Evan Peters (who audiences would best recognise as Quicksilver from the latest ‘X-Men’ movies), Blake Jenner (‘Everybody Wants Some!!’) and Jared Abrahamson.
The film has been earning rave reviews since its premiere at Sundance in January and US release in June. The Washington Post called the film "fascinating, funny and, in the end, deep" while Entertainment Weekly found it to be "a clever new kind of true-crime thriller". Our movies editor Brian Lloyd calls it "a well-executed hybrid that's elevated by sharp direction and natural performances." One such performance comes from Barry Keoghan, and 'American Animals' will no doubt be a big step in the young Irish actor's career.
‘American Animals’ hits Irish cinemas on September 7th and tickets for the film can be purchased here.