The Untold Truth Of Barry Keoghan

The following article references addiction.

If you've been keeping up with the cultural zeitgeist, you'll have undoubtedly heard of Barry Keoghan. He's the Irish actor who made a splash playing the kind-hearted young civilian George Mills in Christopher Nolan's epic feature "Dunkirk," sharing memorable scenes with the likes of Mark Rylance ("Bridge of Spies"), Tom Glynn-Carney ("The King"), and Cillian Murphy ("Peaky Blinders"). He told reporters that the experience of starring in the film was truly extraordinary, per Flicks and the City Clips.

Following his success in the 2017 war epic, Keoghan starred in several other blockbuster films, like "Eternals" and "The Batman." He also delivered a notably chilling, albeit convincing, portrayal of a psychopath in "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" alongside Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman.

It is safe to say Keoghan's star is very much on the rise, but how much do we actually know about the actor? From his childhood in Dublin's inner city to first acting role to current relationship status, here's the untold truth of Barry Keoghan.

Barry Keoghan's mother died when he was a kid

Dublin-born actor Barry Keoghan had something of a tumultuous childhood. From an early age, he was exposed to the harsh realities of his city's drug problem and, sadly, when he was only 12 years old, his mother died of a heroin overdose. In the early years of his career, Barry shied away from discussing his family history, but in an 2018 interview with i-D, he shared details of his backstory, acknowledging that where he comes from is an important part of his trajectory and something he shouldn't omit. "I come from a different world. Her death shaped who I am, definitely," he said. And though her death happened before his acting career took off, he still feels her presence. As he told Living with Lucy (via Irish Mirror) in 2019, "I believe she's here with me through this journey, the good times and the bad."

Barry and his brother Eric Keoghan spent time in foster care before their mother's death, with the actor explaining she wasn't able to look after them when she was very sick. "My mother dying of drugs is not easy for any kid. Anyone dying is not easy, but certainly not a mother. [But] me and my brother, we stuck together," he told The Guardian. Barry added that the foster families they spent time with were good to them, but he and Eric eventually moved in with their grandmother and aunt, who cared for them for the rest of their childhood.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

His love of boxing started in high school

Barry Keoghan started his amateur boxing career back in high school and it's something he's still passionate about today. "[I do] as much boxing as I can, really. I love a bit of paddle work, a bit of sparring. Training's brilliant ... It's brilliant for the mental health. And, you know, I train a lot for that reason," Keoghan explained in a 2021 interview with Off the Ball. While the actor noted that boxing helps him look and feel good in his everyday life, it's also a particularly great form of training for him when he's trying to get into shape for film roles, too.

Now that he's a successful actor, Keoghan and his childhood pal — boxing Olympic gold medalist Kellie Harrington — want to give back to the place they grew up and create a boxing and drama programme for inner-city kids in Dublin, the actor revealed on "The Ryan Tubridy Show." Having grown up in the innermost district of Ireland's capital, Keoghan can relate to the next generation and he wants to do his bit to spur them forward and give them some hope and inspiration for their futures.

This is how Barry Keoghan got his first acting gig

Barry Keoghan's first acting credit was in the gangster film "Between the Canals," which was written and directed by the award-winning Irish filmmaker Mark O'Connor. However, Keoghan wasn't actively pursuing auditions when stumbled across the open call for actors. "I saw it in a window — an open invitation, street cast, and I saw there was time off school. It was a small movie. But I was like, 'I can do this!'" he told i-D.

Prior to "Between the Canals," Keoghan's acting experience was pretty limited. As he told Dazed, "I'd acted in school — just Christmas plays, a bit of messing around on stage." However, he took the audition seriously and left his first meeting with O'Connor with the part. Pre-production on the movie took a few months because of financial constraints, but once O'Connor had the go ahead, Keoghan took to the screen as Aido. The crime drama was released in 2011 and Keoghan's career has been on an upward trajectory ever since.

He didn't finish his education

Knowing that he was going to pursue acting, Barry Keoghan decided formal education wasn't for him. In the UK and Ireland, kids attend high school from the age of 11 until 16. After that, they move on to college, which they typically attend from 16 to 18, or they go into employment instead. He opted to leave school at 16, a move he said was pretty typical for kids growing up in Dublin's inner city, regardless of their career aspirations. "Where I'm from, you focus on finishing school. Even finishing college is seen as a stretch — you just get a job after school and that's it," he explained to Dazed. "Acting isn't a big thing around there. [My brother] didn't think I would ever be doing something like this — no one did."

When Keoghan decided he wanted to try to become a professional actor, he was met with some skepticism. As he told i-D, his friends and former school pals would jokingly say, "Yeah, yeah... we'll be singers! Or soccer players!" Thankfully, his brother Eric Keoghan was always on hand to offer his support. "[He] never took the piss out of me ... [and] once you get the seal of approval from your brother, you just know," he told The Guardian.

Barry swiftly found success again after starring in "Between the Canals," and the director Mark O'Connor cast him again in "Stalker." He then bagged a series of small Irish roles before moving on to bigger Hollywood roles.

How Barry Keoghan scored his breakout role in Dunkirk

"I always said, I want to work with good indie filmmakers, and if a blockbuster comes up and the filmmaker is great, I'll do that. And then I get the best of all that! It's Chris Nolan! The best director who also makes big films," Barry Keoghan gushed to The Ringer in 2017, a few months after "Dunkirk" was released. The Irish actor played the good-hearted young lad George Mills, who stowed away aboard a little boat headed for Dunkirk all because he wanted to do his bit for the war effort. He's undoubtedly one of the bravest civilian heroes in the film, and thanks to Keoghan's acting chops, the audience feels genuine sadness when — spoiler alert — George dies.

"Dunkirk" was Keoghan's breakout role, as it was for many other actors like Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, and Tom Glynn-Carney, because writer-director Christopher Nolan wanted to bring in some relatively unknown performers. That meant he cast the net wide during the audition process, so all Keoghan had to do was send in a self tape. As he told The Hollywood Reporter, to get into the scene, he pretended a household item was a gun for the tryout. "I took the batteries out [of a remote control] like I was taking bullets out," he explained.

After nabbing the part of George in "Dunkirk," Keoghan went on to score other notable roles, appearing in "Chernobyl" alongside Stellan Skarsgård and "Calm With Horses" beside Cosmo Jarvis.

Yorgos Lanthimos took him in a different direction

Barry Keoghan's second big film of 2017 was "The Killing of a Sacred Deer." The role, which saw him playing a certified psychopath, couldn't have been further from the character he played in "Dunkirk," but it was the perfect opportunity for Keoghan to show his range. "I want people to go, 'F***, that's him? He's completely different,'" Keoghan said in an interview with The Ringer. If you've watched the film, you'll know there's a particularly memorable scene where Keoghan's character Martin intensely eats a plateful of spaghetti in front of Nicole Kidman's character Anna. She sits quietly (and uncomfortably) opposite him and pleads with him not to hurt her children — it's quite dark.

Playing a completely different type of character wasn't the only appeal of this feature. Keoghan also explained to Dazed that he learned so much from Yorgos Lanthimos' direction. "It was very, very refreshing to go into a movie and not have this whole backstory. "Yorgos was like, 'Know your lines and don't attach emotion to them.'" Keoghan told Vulture that the experience of working with Lanthimos and Christopher Nolan was not that different, however the result was very different. In "The Killing," Keoghan often let Lanthimos' lines speak for themselves, which only enhanced the creepiness of his performance.

The film also marked a change in tone for the actor, who said he wanted to transition into more adult roles, playing someone his own age (20s rather than teens) going forward.

Is Barry Keoghan a villain in the MCU?

Barry Keoghan got his wish to play an older character when he joined the cast of Marvel's "Eternals" as Druig, a centuries old superhero, and one of 10 ancient warriors called the Eternals. Alongside Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, and Gemma Chan's characters (to name a few), he must battle and wipe out evil deviants from history's path.

Despite commentary that Keoghan's Druig is indeed the secret villain of the film (that's certainly what the comics would indicate), that's not how the actor interprets his character now that it's been adapted for the big screen. "I think they're all superheroes. Villain or good person? To me, they're all good," he told The Independent. One of the "Eternals" screenwriters, Ryan Firpo, uttered the same sentiment in an interview with The Direct, explaining that while Druig may use his power to exert control over others, everything he does it from a place of love, and that doesn't make him an all-out villain. Plus, Keoghan's performance can't help but pull at your heartstrings thanks to his on-screen chemistry with co-star Lauren Ridloff, who plays Makkari.

While it may be up to viewers to determine what kind of character Druig really is, it is clear that Keoghan envisioned himself playing this character years before he was even on Marvel's radar. In fact, the actor tweeted MCU legend Stan Lee back in 2013 asking for a gig. "Stan Lee, Please Make me a SuperHero," he wrote. Well, if you don't ask, you don't get, right?

Wait, Barry Keoghan is the Joker too?

In less than 12 months, Irish star Barry Keoghan successfully bagged roles in both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe. The latter was achieved thanks to his role as the Joker in "The Batman" which was released in March 2022. He may have only had a brief cameo in the theatrically released film, but thanks to a five-minute deleted scene Warner Bros. released on YouTube, fans now know what to expect from Keoghan in the next installment of "The Batman" franchise. His eerie portrayal of the clown prince might even be enough to rival Heath Ledger's. "Honestly, I am stuck for words but I am very, very BLESSED to play this role after the AMAZING AMAZING Actors before me. Here's my version," Keoghan wrote on Twitter alongside the deleted scene.

So how did Keoghan get the part? Well, much like he did with his "Eternals" gig, the actor seemingly manifested his role in "The Batman." Back in 2017 in an interview with Vulture, Keoghan proudly stated that he was very much open to diving into Gotham's superhero world, even suggesting that he could be Robin to Ben Affleck's Batman. Who could have known he'd end up playing such an iconic villain instead?

Barry Keoghan and his partner have a baby on the way

A year after splitting with his longtime girlfriend Shona Guerin, Barry Keoghan sparked romance rumors with Irish mystery woman Alyson Sandro. The pair made their red carpet debut at the Eternals premiere in October 2021, per Daily Mail. Earlier the same year, the couple adopted a Czech Shepherd named Koda. The actor shared a picture of himself and the dog on Instagram, calling him his new best friend.

In March 2022, the couple announced that their family is growing once again. In an Instagram Story, Keoghan shared the news that they're welcoming their first child, per The Sun. The story was a snapshot of the couple's gender reveal party which showed them surrounded by blue confetti, and embracing each other after receiving the news that they're expecting a baby boy. Along with the picture, Keoghan wrote, "I don't know why others have their opinions. WE ARE HAPPY HERE," — a sentiment clearly reflected in the grin on his face.

Barry Keoghan has his eye on Bond

What do you do after you've already made waves in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe? You set your sights on playing the super spy 007, of course. With speculation mounting over which actor will have the honor of playing James Bond after Daniel Craig, Barry Keoghan has decided to throw his hat in the ring too.

It all began with some pictures Keoghan posted on social media. In the three shots, Keoghan can be seen enjoying a holiday vacation in a remarkably Bond-esque style, but it was the caption "Bond who?" which sparked the question of whether Keoghan was keen to step into the British spy's shoes, or bathing suit should we say.

He later addressed the photos and speculation on "The Ryan Tubridy Show." "Ah look, I was having a bit of craic [fun]. You know, you just throw your hat in the ring for it and see what happens," he explained. "But I am curious to see where they go with Bond ... Even to play the villain. That would be quite cool. But maybe Bond actually, you know what, maybe Bond," he added. Well, who knows what's next for Bond? We reckon he has as good a shot as anyone else.

The actor's 10-year plan

Barry Keoghan plans to have a very long and successful career in the entertainment industry. He believes, in part, that the success he's already had thus far is thanks to the law of attraction — something he admittedly puts a lot of stock into. "I've gotten really into (new-age philosophy) the law of attraction; I watched a documentary and read a bit (about it)," he said in Dazed.

Keoghan has been manifesting his acting career goals since before he signed with his agents and holds his filmography as proof that his plan is coming together. When Keoghan has a goal to achieve, he goes after it and he's already achieved a substantial amount. So how exactly does he do it? Well, it's pretty simple: He sends his goals out into the universe by putting them on paper. "I write everything down," Keogan explained to The Ringer. "Directors, movies I want to do, that I want to produce, direct, start my own company, start my own boxing club."

He's continuing to focus his energy on the law of attraction and writing down everything that he wants to manifest for himself in the future. It certainly sounds like Keoghan is going to keep being busy.

This is how much the superhero star is worth

In a few short years, Barry Keoghan has amassed a net worth of $4 million, per Celebrity Net Worth. So far his earnings are a result of his prominent film roles — namely "The Killing of a Sacred Deer," "The Green Knight," "Eternals," and "The Batman." However, Keoghan has also expressed interest in diversifying his career (and income) through producing and directing, so you can definitely expect to see that number grow as his career does.

While Keoghan's celebrity status is on the rise, fans can be sure his fame hasn't gone to his head, and the actor has assured The Hollywood Reporter that he won't ever forget his Irish roots. He credits his grandmother (who he calls Nanny) with keeping him grounded. "I'll come home off a film set where I'm getting pampered, and I'll get a slap in the head if I don't make my bed. That's what I love about her," he said.