Director explains why Barry Keoghan turned down a recurring role on Fair City
Keoghan has enjoyed huge success for his role as Dominic in last year's The Banshees of Inisherin.
In another world, we could be watching BAFTA winner Barry Keoghan four times a week on RTÉ One as one of the residents of Carrigstown.
It turns out that the 30-year-old was given advice not to "pigeon-hole" himself so early on in his career, which we suppose worked out for the best.
Speaking to Ray D'Arcy on RTÉ Radio One, Irish director Mark O'Connor told the story of how he gave Keoghan his first professional part in his 2011 movie Between The Canals. The Irish gangster flick also starred Peter Coonan, best known for his role as Fran in Love/Hate.
Keoghan first saw a casting ad for the movie "handwritten in pencil, Sellotaped to the window" of a shop in his native Summerhill. After calling the director multiple times, he managed to grab the attention of O'Connor, and the rest, they say, is history.
"I wasn't involved in acting schools or anything, I was looking for people who could be believable on screen, that could portray the characters that were in the scripts."
Barry Keoghan an inspiration to hometown
Barry Keoghan impressed the Dublin director and ended up starring in three of his feature films. Once he cut his teeth in films like Stalker and King of the Travellers, his name started to gain traction in Irish circles and it wasn't long before Fair City were calling. But O'Connor knew he was destined for a career further abroad.
"Nothing against RTÉ but he was going to be cast in Fair City and I said, "Barry no, you can't get pigeonholed and stuck."
Keoghan did feature in a few episodes of Fair City, but, on O'Connor's advice, became more selective and moved on from the long-running RTÉ show. "The world is his oyster now in terms of what roles he wants to go for," added O'Connor.
The Dublin actor won Best Supporting Actor at last week's BAFTA ceremony for his role in Banshees. During his speech he dedicated the award to "the kids that are dreaming to be something from the area that I came from."
Keoghan is also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at the upcoming ceremony, which takes place on Monday, March 13.
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