In August of 2020, we heard that Barry Keoghan had been cast as some cop in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, an obvious-in-retrospect bit of subterfuge to hide the fact that he would really be making a cameo in the film as the Joker… and then almost his entire appearance was cut out. But Reeves was so happy with his work that he later released an extended clip of Keoghan’s Joker talking to Robert Pattinson’s Batman—but not before insisting that he was just throwing in a big character cameo and not necessarily teasing what might happen in a The Batman sequel.
Now, as part of a profile from GQ UK, Keoghan has revealed that he actually sent Reeves an unsolicited audition tape when he heard about the movie in hopes of getting cast as the Riddler. He then got a meeting with producer Dylan Clark, who told Keoghan that he didn’t get the part (it eventually went to Paul Dano), but a few months later he got a call from his agent and found out that the The Batman people wanted him as the Joker instead (and that he was not allowed to tell anyone).
In addition to that backstory, GQUK also shared Keoghan’s original Riddler audition video, which features him in a hat and suspenders, creeping through an empty hallway before beating someone up with a cane (offscreen). It’s very A Clockwork Orangebut the most interesting thing might be that there’s nothing of Keoghan’s eventual Joker performance here other than his self-satisfied little smirk.
Reeves keeps the Joker out of focus in the movie and the extended clip, letting Keoghan’s voice—and laugh—do most of the work, and there’s no talking or laughing in this clip, so it seems like the The Batman producers were just really impressed with Keoghan’s creepy charisma and obvious enthusiasm more than anything. It just goes to show you: Dress for the job you want, and maybe you’ll end up getting a similar job where you dress nothing like that but get to be a different Batman villain anyway. Not necessarily universal advice, but it must apply to some people out there.