The Big Picture
- Barry Keoghan’s homemade audition tape for the role of The Riddler in The Batman impressed director Matt Reeves, even though he didn’t get the part.
- Keoghan’s portrayal of The Joker in the film is described as “charming” and “hurt,” with a focus on showing the character’s humanity behind the makeup.
- The inclusion of The Joker in The Batman is not a setup for a sequel, and it is uncertain whether the character will return in future movies.
Barry Keoghan may have had a major breakthrough in 2022 with the gold-plated The Banshees of Inisherin, after his performance as the troubled Dominic saw him nominated for an Academy Award and take home a BAFTA for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. So it’s easily forgotten that he actually had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance in what could yet to be a major role in Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
Speaking in an extensive new profile with Esquire, Keoghan revealed that he’d sent in a home-made audition tape of him playing The Riddler, the role which eventually went to Paul Dano, where he adopted a Clockwork Orange-esque persona as he stalked a bland corridor in a sinister manner. Spending ten dollars on the cane and hat, he storyboarded the scene and walked back and forth in slow motion.
“I just made it up, I wanted to make it Kubrick-y: symmetrical, the X on the back, the square doorframe, everything square. I just wanted swag to come across. Swag and endearing. It was just me giving my idea. And then I’s like, ‘I’ma send this in!’”
While it wasn’t enough to nab him the role of The Riddler, his tape did enough to convince Reeves there was undoubtedly something there, as he now follows the path trodden by Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, but Jared Leto, in bringing Batman’s ultimate nemesis into live action.
A Broken Down Boy
Keoghan described his take on the Joker as “a bit charming and a bit hurt” and “a broken-down boy. I wanted some sort of human in there behind the makeup,” the actor added, referring to the fact he wanted to keep his own blue eyes for the part. “I want people to relate to him…[to know] this is a façade he puts on.” After the release of The Batman, Reeves stressed that the inclusion of The Joker wasn’t an explicit tease that a sequel would follow the mass murdering clown.
“It’s not an Easter egg scene. It’s not one of those end credits Marvel or DC scenes where it’s going, like, ‘Hey, here’s the next movie!’ In fact, I have no idea when or if we would return to that character in the movies.”
The Batman Part II is already scheduled for release on Oct. 3, 2025 from Warner Bros. Keoghan’s return has not yet been confirmed.