Thespian Barry Keoghan (Eternals, The Batman, The Banshees of Inisherin) has signed on to star as the infamous, legendary outlaw, Billy The Kid, in a new biopic feature in the works. Deadline reports that Keoghan is teaming up with director Bart Layton (American Animals) for the upcoming period biopic, which is a dream feature for the Irish actor.
BARRY KEOGHAN BOARDS BILLY THE KID PICTURE
Element Pictures and RAW with Film4 are producing the project. Speaking to Deadline, Keoghan is looking for a version that will break away from the facade of past onscreen interpretations of the outlaw. Keoghan noted to Deadline, “I wanted to humanize him in a way.”
Ed Guiney, who collaborated with Keoghan on Killing of a Sacred Deer and Calm with Horses said this is more than a mere passion project for Keoghan and reinforced that they are taking a new approach to the outlaw. According to Deadline’s report, the project will lean further into Billy the Kid’s Irish ancestry and his tumultuous childhood. The outlaw was born in New York as Henry McCarty and was orphaned at 15 when his mother died, and he was abandoned by his stepfather.
By the time he was 18 years old, Billy The Kid was wanted for murder after an altercation in Arizona. His notoriety escalated from there. At 21 years old, he was shot to death by Sheriff Pat Garrett. Keoghan himself lost his mother at 12 years old and grew up in a foster system. He empathizes with the pressures McCarty faced in his childhood that likely edged him closer toward a life of crime, forcing him to make desperate choices as a result.
Keoghan previously attempted to start the project in early 2020. However, the pandemic shutdown caused it to be put on the back burner. A new script by Hunter Andrews has Keoghan and the filmmakers eager to get it started. Layton is looking to have production on the film start in the early half of 2024. He stated to Deadline, “I don’t think it’s mine, or Barry’s, or Ed’s next film, but we’re building towards next year.”
Keoghan’s career has definitely been surging as of late. He received an Oscar nomination earlier this year for Best Supporting actor for his role in the acclaimed film, The Banshees of Inisherin. He also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture for the role. He had a starring role in Marvel’s Eternals, and he was also featured as the iconic comic book supervillain, The Joker, in last year’s The Batman.
Keoghan’s more dialogue-heavy scene as The Joker was deleted from the film, but he did make a small appearance in the final cut, likely hinting at a bigger role for the character later on. The Batman 2 is currently in the works, with Matt Reeves attached to return to write and direct the sequel, and Robert Pattinson reprising the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne.
It will be interesting to see if Barry Keoghan has a more substantial role as The Joker in the sequel. However, his planned take for Billy The Kid also sounds fascinating.
What do you think of the news? Do you believe Barry Keoghan is a good choice to star as Billy the Kid? Are there any other casting choices you’d like to see emerge for this upcoming western? Let us know what you think about the subject on The Illuminerdi Twitter account.