Will Barry Keoghan Return as Joker in “The Batman 2”?
The most telling portion of Barry Keoghan’s brief but potent performance in The Batman arrived in an unusual way—a deleted scene that was revealed a few weeks after the film premiered. Sure, we briefly met Keoghan’s unnamed Arkham Asylum Inmate towards the end of the film, after Batman (Robert Pattinson) has finally nabbed the Riddler (Paul Dano). Alone in his cell, the Riddler’s having a meltdown until his friendly, happy-go-lucky neighbor in the next cell calms him down and promises him bigger things are in store. This moment sets up a potential team-up between the Riddler and the cackling lunatic we all know and love, but by the time the film ended, you’d have been forgiven for assuming that was the only slice of Keoghan as the Joker we were going to get. Then something funny happened a few weeks later—that deleted scene arrived.
In the deleted scene, Keoghan made a compelling impression as one of the most iconic villains ever created. Writer/director Matt Reeves had originally conceived of a bigger role for Keoghan’s Arkham Asylum inmate via a delicious twist—he had a desperate Batman seek out the Joker to help him catch the Riddler. Deeply scarred both physically and mentally, Keoghan’s take on the Joker was that of a live wire seemingly under control, calmly assessing the Riddler case, holding all the cards. It lasted a mere five minutes, but it was enough to know that Reeves has the right man for the Joker job.
Now, we get a chance to hear what Keoghan felt about his performance. In an interview with Collider, while discussing his current film, The Banshees of Inisherin, Keoghan revealed that he was nervous about taking on the role. In fact, he’s very much like the rest of us, in awe of Heath Ledger’s turn as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Yet his respect for Ledger’s iconic performance didn’t stop Keoghan from making the Joker his own. In that brief five-minute deleted scene, Keoghan’s take on the Joker felt fresh and raw, and we can only assume he’s a part of Reeves’ masterplan for The Batman 2, which he’s currently working on. Here’s what Keoghan had to say:
“It’s very intimidating [playing the Joker]. Heath Ledger was the best for me. So you have a lot of people to draw from and that. But again, you bring your version to it. That’s what I do with any character I play, is no one has seen my version of it. And again, going back to it, I don’t want to be like so-and-so and follow that method and that method. I want to do me. I want to bring my version because I feel that is new in a way, and unique, that when you bring your version no one has seen it. And that may make people relate to it. So it was intimidating, but I was excited for it.”
Reeves ultimately had to cut the longer Joker scene from the film to keep The Batman’s runtime down to something manageable. By releasing the deleted scene later, it seems like Reeves and the Warner Bros. team were signaling that there will be more to come from Keoghan in the future. The actor told Collider he trusted Reeves’s decision to cut the scene but was happy that the deleted scene got released.
“Matt’s amazing. I mean, again, it’s sort of like you go into a numbness when you’re there because you forget,” Keoghan told Collider. “Again, another great director at communicating what he wants in the most delicate way and making you understand. That’s the most important thing for me is being able to understand what my director wants. But he’s just amazing. And he was so on board with me, and same with [producer] Dylan Clark, and getting to do the scene with Rob [Pattinson] and Paul Dano was just, again, masterclasses.”
The Batman is currently available on HBO Max. Meanwhile, Reeves and his team are hard at work on The Batman 2 and the HBO Max spinoff series The Penguin, with Colin Farrell reprising his role.
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Featured image: Caption: ROBERT PATTINSON as Batman with the Batmobile in a scene in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure “THE BATMAN,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/ ™ & © DC Comics