Barry Keoghan Quit Gladiator 2 For A Movie That Debuted At 100% On Rotten Tomatoes (But Has Since Fallen Off)

Gladiator fans were intrigued when Oscar nominee Barry Keoghan was announced to join the sequel. However, the euphoria didn’t last long before the Eternals star dropped out of the project to film the drama Bird. After quitting Gladiator 2, the Barry Keoghan-led film finally arrived with 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the drama soon fell off.

The drama made a rousing debut at the Cannes Film Festival. Critics responded to the Andrea Arnold-directed film with glowing reviews with GQ understanding why Keoghan left the blockbuster sequel for the smaller film. So the score scored the elusive certified fresh from reviewers. Unfortunately, the high score didn’t last long as its Rotten Tomatoes score fell to 73 percent. This can be chalked up to more film critics having seen the movie or finally publishing their critiques.

According to Digital Spy, the film now has a mixed reception from reviewers. Critics heaped endless praise onto the Saltburn actor’s performance following Bird’s Cannes premiere. However, the follow-up consensus pinpointed the film’s flaws squarely on Andrea Arnold’s direction and the screenplay. Some felt both components didn’t live up to its leading actor’s powerful performance. The film’s current reception contrasts with its good press at the French film festival. That doesn’t mean Keoghan made a mistake choosing the indie drama over the Gladiator sequel. Maybe the role will translate into another fun awards season for the rising Hollywood sex symbol.

Keoghan decided to leave Gladiator 2 at an awkward time for Hollywood. The film industry was experiencing two crippling strikes – WGA and SAG-AFTRA – as the sequel prepared to start filming. It caused Hollywood to come to a standstill. Maybe the downtime and scheduling conflicts forced Keoghan to choose between the two films. The Dunkirk actor hasn’t divulged why he left Gladiator 2’s all-star cast for Bird.

Leaving the long-delayed sequel hasn’t stopped him from securing roles as he will appear in the thriller Bring Them Down. He even returned to TV in the World War II Apple TV+ miniseries Masters of the Air, for which he and the cast received acclaim.

After its Cannes premiere, Bird is gearing up for a European release at an unknown date. It is unknown when or if the Barry Keoghan-led film will premiere in North America as the distribution rights haven’t been bought yet. In the meantime, you can catch several NSFW moments, including the Oscar nominee’s viral naked dance scene or the infamous bathtub scene by streaming Saltburn through an Amazon Prime Video subscription. Don’t forget to check out our movie schedule to see what other films are arriving this Spring and Summer.

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