Barry Keoghan's career has been on an upward trajectory for a few years now, but the Dublin-born actor is clearly reaping the fruits of his labour in 'The Banshees of Inisherin', and the profile boost that came with it.
The Oscar nominee's next starring role will be as 19th century American cowboy and outlaw Billy the Kid, in a new film directed by Bart Layton - whom Keoghan had previously worked with on 'American Animals'.
Billy the Kid, real name Henry McCarty, was a gunslinger of Irish ancestry who lived a short but action-packed life in the American Old West; orphaned at 15, wanted for murder by the age of 18 and shot dead by Sheriff Pat Garrett by the time he was 21. The gunslinger is alleged to have killed 21 men.
"We've seen many versions of Billy the Kid on screen before," Keoghan told Deadline. "My interest was in trying to tell a version that breaks from the facade of that cool, calm, and collected gunslinger Billy the Kid that we're all used to seeing. I wanted to humanise him in a way."
He added that he felt a sort of kinship with the outlaw, having lost his own mother at the age of 12 and grown up in foster homes.
"I wanted to step outside of the legend that was built up by the papers and tackle the pressure he must have felt from those early days. He was running his whole life," he said. "I felt related to Billy in the sense of him being a mummy's boy, but obviously, I took a different path, turning my circumstances into something positive rather than rebelling against them.
"Nevertheless, there's a soul and a vulnerability to Billy that I think it's important to bring, to understand him as a real person rather than the myth that he has become."
Filming is set to begin in early 2024. Keoghan can be seen next in the film 'Saltburn' alongside Rosamund Pike and Carey Mulligan, and TV mini-series 'Masters of the Air' alongside Austin Butler.