Barry Keoghan explains why he missed out on Gladiator 2 role

Saltburn's Barry Keoghan has explained why he missed out on Ridley Scott's Gladiator 2.

The actor was originally reported to be part of the belated sequel but had dropped out, with reports claiming that he had chosen to focus on a different film instead.

Speaking to IndieWire to promote Andrea Arnold's Bird, in which he plays a leading role, Keoghan confirmed that this was indeed that the film.

barry keoghan arrives at the afi awards luncheon at four seasons hotel los angeles at beverly hills on january 13, 2023
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When asked why he had to drop out of Gladiator 2, he said: "Um, conflicts, schedule conflicts. I am a massive fan of Gladiator and a massive fan of that cast. It's a shame you can't do both. But that happens in this game. You can't do both.

"It always happens. Shooting in two different countries as well makes it really difficult."

He has no qualms about the choice he's made, calling Bird "the most artistic experience ever for me as an actor.

"I hope it shows onscreen. I don't like to say there's any composure of an actor up there on screen. I am totally immersed, and I feel the approach is in an unstructured way. Andrea creates that and sets that documentary style, and you can only be truthful to it. You kind of get found out if you're acting.

barry keoghan attends the 2023 golden globes
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"I went in totally unknown to the whole [Andrea Arnold] process, and I loved it," he added, explaining elsewhere in the interview that it was a very pared-back experience.

"You don't have a trailer to go to, which I prefer, and I really truly mean that," he said. "You're in the deep end of it with everyone else. She doesn't give you a script. You don't have lines to learn. It's just pure, spontaneous, and instinctive. She's almost trying to break you down in the gentlest way so you can be honest and truthful. You don't have time to wait around."

Bird was showcased at the Cannes Film Festival, and does not currently have a general release date, although it is meant to be coming to Mubi in the UK.

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