In a recent interview for GQ’s February cover story, the Irish actor, 31, told the publication how he developed a necrotizing fasciitis in his arm before he started filming The Banshees of Inisherin, which released in October 2022.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention necrotizing fasciitis is a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly in the body and can cause death. The infection develops when bacteria enter the skin through cuts, scrapes, burns or insect bites. Even with surgery and treatment for the infection, the CDC says 1 and 5 people die.
“I’m not sure if he was on a lot of meds, but he seemed to shrug it off,” Martin McDonagh, who wrote Keoghan’s role of Dominic Kearney in The Banshees of Inisherin, told GQ about when he saw Keoghan a few days before filming.
“We were only about four days out from shooting, and his arm was puffed up. But he was like, ‘Yeah, no, I’m going to be fine—I’ll see you on Tuesday.’ I went to the hospital thinking, Shit—is he going to die? Let alone, is he going to make the movie,” McDonagh added. “But I came out of there energized and looking forward to it.”
Also in the interview, the actor told the outlet that he remembered asking doctors in the hospital if he indeed was going to die.
Doctors noted, “well, we don’t know.”
The star added that amputation of his arm was also on the table.
In the end, the star was able to fight the infection. But he does in fact have a scar on his arm from the surgery.
“Just remember this when you’ve been nominated for an Oscar,” he recalled McDonagh telling him at the time.
Keoghan most notably has fans excited about his latest role in Saltburn. The film, written and directed by Emerald Fennell stars Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan, and Jacob Elordi.
“Struggling to find his place at Oxford University, student Oliver Quick finds himself drawn into the world of the charming and aristocratic Felix Catton, who invites him to Saltburn, his eccentric family’s sprawling estate, for a summer never to be forgotten,” the synopsis reads.
“It’s my first lead role, and the first time I had to really step up in terms of stamina and just being fully committed,” Keoghan told the New York Times. “I always want to test myself. I don’t ever want to get to a stage where I think I have it figured out. So the scene-stealing thing — it’s nice, but I don’t want to be known as that. I want people to see me and think, ‘That boy can hold a movie.'”