Here's What The Saltburn Cast Have Said About Its Controversial Scenes From The Bathtub To The Graveyard

27 December 2023, 15:24 | Updated: 29 December 2023, 11:30

'Saltburn' has been a very divisive film
'Saltburn' has been a very divisive film. Picture: Alamy

By Abbie Reynolds

Emerald Fennell's 'Saltburn' isn't afraid to push boundaries, especially when it comes to sex. But how did the actors feel making her vision come to life? Well, here's what they've said.

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Saltburn has gone viral for more reasons than one. At first everyone was loving the music, then they were drooling over Jacob Elordi but now everyone's saying - can we talk about those scenes?

The film's director, Emerald Fennell, has not shied away from the deeply sensual nature of the movie, she even named it Saltburn for that reason. According to ScreenRant, she chose the name because it “has something innately sensual to it".

She said: "Combining the sensations of sweat and pleasure and pain as well. It's a word you can feel.”

The film follows Oliver's (played by Barry Keoghan) obsession with his classmate Felix (played by Jacob Elordi), as he is invited to a life-changing summer at Felix's family's estate.

One of the most talked about scenes in the film features a bathtub, Fennell says the premise of the film came to her after a vision bathtub, which is why that scene is so pivotal to the movie.

That scene isn't the only one that made viewers squirm though, here are all the shocking scenes and what the actors said about working on them - let us forewarn you, this isn't for the faint of heart.

If you've not seen the film yet beware there are a fair few spoilers ahead...

Jacob Elordi stars in 'Saltburn'
Jacob Elordi stars in 'Saltburn'. Picture: Alamy

The bathtub scene

First up we of course have the bathtub scene, which in hindsight looks pretty tame compared to the other scenes. In this scene Jacob's character pleasures himself in the bath and when he is done Barry's character hops in and drinks the bath's contents. Water and all.

Fennell told Entertainment Weekly: "The bathtub was the first thing, the first image, that came to me... It was a boy saying, 'I wasn't in love with him,' and that same boy licking the bottom of a bathtub.

"So that was the very centre of the film for me, this kind of unreliable narrator, somebody who was clearly in the grips of extreme desire and who hasn't yet come to terms."

Jacob found the scene amusing as he quipped to Variety: “I was like, ‘Thank God, it’s mine. I was very proud. I was very proud to have Barry Keoghan guzzling it like that.”

Barry had the perfect response to acting out this scene, as Fennell told People that when they sat down to discuss it he simply said: “I'm Oliver."

She said: “And I was like, ‘I know. Me too.’ Because we are. That's the thing, Oliver's my imaginary friend, he's me. Then I meet Barry and suddenly Barry's Oliver too."

The grave scene was partly improvised by Barry
The grave scene was partly improvised by Barry. Picture: Prime Video

The graveyard scene

So, Barry wasn't too phased by the bathtub scene, however he has said that after filming the infamous grave scene he "can't look at graves anymore the same way".

The graveyard scene sees Oliver visit Felix's grave and engage in intercourse with the grave plot. Fennell has said that originally Barry's character was just meant to kiss the grave.

Speaking to EW, she said: "I spoke to Barry in the morning, and I just said, ‘I don’t know, Barry. I think that he would...unzip. And Barry just said, ‘Yup.’"

Barry explained his willingness to take the scene to the next level, saying: “For me, it wasn't about f***ing the grave, it was more about I don't know what to do with this obsession; it’s making me confused and making me unhuman in a way,” the Irish actor said.

“It was a total discovery for him, I think. And it was sad. It was very, very sad.” But after filming he said: "I can't look at graves anymore the same way. Do you know what I mean?

"They won't allow me into graveyards actually. They'll see me coming. They'll be like, ‘Nah, nah.’ Especially if I arrive with no clothes on."

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The 'vampire' scene

And finally we have what they described on set as the 'vampire scene', acted out by Alison Oliver and Barry. Alison's character Venetia, Felix's sister, receives oral sex from Oliver whilst she is menstruating.

Alison told said that the period sex scene "makes sense" in the film because of the evolution of Oliver.

Explaining her admiration for Fennell's film direction she said: "I think Emerald is just incredible in that way, she isn't afraid to push things and go there. And that's something I admire in her so much."

Archie Madekwe, who plays jealous American cousin Farleigh, said: "I think the brilliant thing about this film is you can understand, even through the shock, where all [of the characters] are coming from."

Echoing Alison's praise, Archie said there's a "beautiful thing" about the director's writing.

If you've not seen these memorable scenes yet and want to witness Fennell's genius, Saltburn is available to stream on Prime Video.

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