Oscar-nominated actor Barry Keoghan played the Joker in 2022’s The Batman in one of the final sequences of the film. He was only in the film briefly but he turned in a haunting and memorable performance as the DC villain. In an interview with GQ, Keoghan discussed how he landed the role, what he did to help prepare himself, and the impact of COVID-19 on filming.
As he’s discussed previously, Keoghan said he originally wanted to play The Riddler after he saw an article saying the filmmakers wanted that character to appear in the film. So Keoghan got a camera, put on some makeup, and bought a cane and filmed himself walking down a a dark hallway with some swagger. “Let’s see if that will get me an audition,” he said. “They said, ‘No, but do you want to play the Joker?’ And I said, ‘Yep!'”
The Riddler was originally going to be played by Jonah Hill before the actor reportedly passed on the role. Paul Dano later came in to play the part and gave a memorable performance.
Keoghan said it took six hours to get into the makeup for the Joker. At around five hours into the process, someone told Keoghan that production was shutting down due to COVID-19. This was particularly stressful for Keoghan, as he said some kind of steel object in his mouth to give his character an eerie smile. “It was slicing in [to my mouth],” he said. “I was like, ‘I’m really going to be left with a scar.'”
Keoghan and Batman actor Robert Pattinson were in the same boat, having to lock down mid-production, and from the way Keoghan tells it, they both tried to make the best of the situation.
Also in the interview, Keoghan discussed how he prepared to get into the Joker’s mindset. He said he was looking at pictures of asylums and came across one that stuck with him. It was an image of an asylum with spray paint on it with the words, “Hell was more fun.”
A sequel to The Batman is in the works, but it remains to be seen if Keoghan and the Joker are part of it.