SALTBURN Star Barry Keoghan Covers ESQUIRE’s October-November 90th Anniversary Issue

Posted on October 05, 2023


BARRY KEOGHAN, the third of three 90th anniversary cover stars along with POST MALONE and YUSEF SALAAM, is already considered one of the best actors of his generation for his roles in The Banshees of Inisherin (Oscar nomination) and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Directors, actors, audiences, and awards voters love Barry Keoghan. He is the current Joker in the Batman movie franchise and a member of the Marvel universe. He’s in a new World War II miniseries produced by Spielberg and Hanks. And in Saltburn, the new film from writer-director Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), the Dublin-born actor appears in every frame. Growing up, Barry and Eric, his brother, spent seven years in the foster-care system. When Barry was twelve, their mother died of a drug overdose after a long battle with addiction, and the boys went to live with their grandmother.




On being an actor, even as a child: “I always had a little bit of it in me. I used to dance for my mother, to Elvis. ‘A Little Less Conversation.’ Yeah, man, she loved that. It was her favorite song… it was when she was in hospital. And it could come on and me and my brother used to dance to it. We’d be by her bedside. She was always chirpy and always making sure we were good. Always a smile on her face. Ahh, brilliant.”

On the best part of acting: “I realized this is a job that allows me to express some sort of form that wasn’t me, do you get what I’m saying? It’s like subconscious therapy. Those fifty seconds or whatever, between ‘action’ and ‘cut,’ there’s some sort of fecking euphoric disconnection to who you are. You’re in a limbo, if that’s the word, between both you and this other person. And you don’t get it every time. I’d be lying if I said you did. But that’s what I chase, that thing of not being me for those fifty seconds.”

On his ADHD diagnosis: “It’s something that should be recognized and talked about in adults. And the medication: The difference is day and night. My mind used to be like a traffic jam, crazy, and then with the medication it’s like: One car goes, then another car goes.”

On becoming a father: “I can base my being a father on my granny. She raised ten. She had a great, what do you call it, attitude about everything. Man or woman, that’s what I base it on. She was my father and mother in one.”

On feeling abandoned as a child: “Abandonment is embedded in me so deeply, and I’ve got to work through it, because I’ve got other responsibilities now. It’s just something that I’ve got to put a lot of time and effort into. But I’m loving it. I’m loving discovering about myself, my strengths. And that that happened, and it was nobody’s fault. Not my parents’. It just happened. I understand that now as an adult and as a father, that these things happen. I hold no resentment. I’m not bitter. My parents were young, and it was what it was. It gave me all the tools and challenges to define myself. And still, I ain’t where I wanna be. I don’t ever wanna be in a place where I feel I’ve conquered it.”


[Photo Credit: Norman Jean Roy for Esquire Magazine]

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