‘Masters of the Air’ Star Barry Keoghan Unpacks Tragedy in Episode 3: ‘No Sign of Weakness’ | Video

Note: This story contains spoilers from Episode 3 of “Masters of the Air.”

Barry Keoghan’s time in “Masters of the Air” might be short and bittersweet, but he had aspirations for his character’s three-episode arc.

Keoghan plays Lt. Curtis Biddick in the third war-centered series from executive producers Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. Most important to Keoghan was to capture Biddick’s leadership as a pilot, but also his forced maturing from a young boy into a man.

“[My focus] was to come across as a leader, to show a fine balance of him putting it on to encourage his crew and his team around him, to show no sign of weakness. That was the main drive for Biddick,” Keoghan told TheWrap. “And then right before we see his death, we actually see a glimpse of him just being a boy. All of that facade and all of that act is gone, stripped for back to the core.”

Part 3 followed as Biddick consults Austin Butler’s Major Gale “Buck” Cleven ahead of an intense mission that involved a split in task forces between a ball-bearing factory in Schweinfurt and also bombing the German city of Regensberg. He predicted that the mission “could do some real damage,” and in briefing, he questioned why the planes had to fly all the way down through Africa after they hit their intended target.

Biddick’s determination to land a struggling plane after the mission encouraged him to stay in the cockpit, but instead of pulling off a miraculous landing like in Episode 2, the plane crashed and exploded making him a casualty of the mission.

“They were just kids at the end of the day, who had to behave like men and who had to become men quite early,” Keoghan added. “That was the arc for me, and I think it’s captured quite nicely. The moment of death. You really feel it.”

Keoghan emphasized that getting familiar with the real-life Biddick, who was part of the Mighty Eighth Air Force and Bloody Hundredth Bomb Squad, was the first step to bringing him to life on screen.

He also stressed that advice from Hanks, Spielberg, Goetzman, Captain Dale Dye and those who built the replicas of the B-17 planes helped all the pilots and soldiers learn how to operate the switches and buttons, so their portrayal of flying the planes could be as mechanical as the actual machinery.

“[The goal] was just to make us look like pros up there and come across as second nature so that we could focus more on the emotional journey of it. It was fun, and it was a massive appreciation to realize that it’s quite intensive there, even down to the costume,” Keoghan added. “The costumes were great, but it restricted a lot of stuff. So many layers on and you’re attached into the chair, and there’s so many things and elements that you wouldn’t think of when you’re when you’re looking at it.”

The first three episodes of “Masters of the Air” are now available to stream on Apple TV+.

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