‘Saltburn’ Press Conference with Cast and Crew

Rosamund Pike as Lady Elsbeth Catton in 'Saltburn.'

Rosamund Pike as Lady Elsbeth Catton in ‘Saltburn.’ Photo: Amazon MGM Studios. Amazon MGM Studios.

In ‘Saltburn,’ which opens in theaters on November 22nd, is the second film from writer-director Emerald Fennell following her bracing feature debut, ‘Promising Young Woman.’ Barry Keoghan (‘The Banshees of Inisherin’) stars as Oliver Quick, a socially awkward new student at Oxford who yearns to get into the social circle of the popular, charismatic, and handsome Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi).

Oliver manages to work his way into Felix’s good graces – and empathy – and wins himself an invite to spend the summer at Felix’s family estate, Saltburn. There, Oliver meets Felix’s imperious mother Elspeth (Rosamund Pike), absent-minded father James (Richard E. Grant), and troubled yet sexually available sister Venetia (Alison Oliver).

Moviefone recently had the pleasure of attending a virtual press conference for ‘Saltburn.’ Taking part in the two-part Q&A were star Rosamund Pike, writer-director Emerald Fennell, and producer Josey McNamara.

Here are 10 things we learned from the ‘Saltburn’ virtual press conference, edited for clarity and length.

1) Emerald Fennell First Came Up with the Character of Oliver Quick Years Ago

Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick in 'Saltburn.'

(Center) Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick in ‘Saltburn.’ Photo: Amazon MGM Studios. Amazon MGM Studios.

The film’s ostensible protagonist, Oliver Quick, is a slippery persona to grab hold of. He’s awkward and lonely yet also much more manipulative than he first lets on. He’s also a working-class bloke who is exposed to an entirely different way of life at Saltburn, and that almost certainly has an effect on him. In some ways, according to Fennell, he’s the audience.

Emerald Fennell: Oliver feels incredibly relatable to me. He kind of announced himself about seven or eight years ago, kind of persistently. He’s sort of an imaginary friend. He was just there all the time, and I couldn’t get him out of my head. It’s no accident to me, I think, that I finished writing this during COVID, because if Oliver’s anything, as well as being the person he is, this is a film about looking constantly and not being able to touch, and what it does to you if you’re not allowed to touch the thing you want to touch. We were living in a world where we could only look at each other through screens, that we were constantly voyeuristic, that we were absorbing things that couldn’t see us back. So I think that for me, Oliver seems to be all of us, really. Yes, he’s an outsider. Yes, he’s a person driven by love and desire and all of those things. But he’s also trying to scratch an itch that just cannot be sated. It can’t be scratched. So what do you do? You scratch your skin till you get down to the bone. You do it till it hurts.

2) Barry Keoghan Was Willing to Go to Any Lengths

Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick in 'Saltburn.'

Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick in ‘Saltburn.’ Photo: Amazon MGM Studios. Amazon MGM Studios.

From ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ to ‘The Banshees of Inisherin,’ not to mention his eerie cameo as a certain Clown Prince of Crime in ‘The Batman,’ Barry Keoghan has taken on a slew of provocative roles in his still-young career. But his first lead, in ‘Saltburn,’ may be his boldest performance yet.

Emerald Fennell: [Barry] is a force of nature. Barry is like lightning in a bottle. It’s a very unique and specific talent that he has. The thing that you’re always looking for is that element of surprise. The texture of a performance as much as the texture of, you know, the couch they’re sitting on. That is something that is really important, and what I love is things and people that go against the grain. That’s what Barry does. We as humans are not consistent characters. We have our own idiosyncrasies. We respond to things surprisingly. We are turned on by the things that we don’t like, and we’re disgusted by the things we should [like]. That’s this movie, and that’s what Barry does.

Rosamund Pike: Barry’s a maverick. He has so many different temperatures. And you never quite know what you’re going to get.

3) About Barry’s Nude Dance Scene…

Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick in 'Saltburn.'

Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick in ‘Saltburn.’ Photo: Amazon MGM Studios. Amazon MGM Studios.

We won’t give away too much to avoid spoilers, but Barry Keoghan does a nude dance through Saltburn to the tune of Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ that is a guaranteed showstopper (and jaw-dropper).

Emerald Fennell: The scene was always from the beginning going to be a complicated, technical, and precise thing, because it’s the inverse of Felix’s tour at the beginning. So technically, it was always going to be precise. And it’s absolutely about making sure that somebody feels safe and relaxed and all of that sort of thing. We had Polly Bennett, who is an unbelievably talented choreographer. She does a lot of movement as well as dance — she did ‘Elvis’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘The Crown,’ all those sorts of things. What I was really looking for was something that felt spontaneous, that felt loose enough that it was a kind of burst of evil joy that we could really relate to, but that also had enough kind of precision that it just didn’t feel messy. And the thing with Barry, again, that is so wonderful is that when he gets it, he gets it. When you say to him, “I don’t think the end can be a naked walk through the house, I think it needs to be a dance to Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s ‘Murder on the Dancefloor,’” Barry just says, “Yeah.”

4) Carey Mulligan Insisted on Playing Poor Dear Pamela Even Though She’s Only in Three Scenes

Carey Mulligan, Emerald Fennell, and Laverne Cox on the set of 'Promising Young Woman.'

(L to R) Carey Mulligan, Emerald Fennell, and Laverne Cox on the set of ‘Promising Young Woman.’

After giving a bravura, Oscar-nominated performance as the lead of Fennell’s first film, ‘Promising Young Woman,’ Carey Mulligan collaborates with the director again for ‘Saltburn,’ this time in the relatively small role of Poor Dear Pamela, a dissolute friend of the Cattons who’s staying at Saltburn while she tries to put her life back together.

Emerald Fennell: She’s an extraordinary person and the most gifted actress. I sent her the script just as my friend, you know, once it was finished. I wanted to talk to her about it. She immediately called me up and said, “I have to be Poor Dear Pamela.” I was like, “You’re only in three scenes.” She was like, “I don’t care.” You know, the thing is, you have a shorthand. You have the trust built in. Then the thing about Carey, the thing about Poor Dear Pamela is she’s an unbelievably important character in this film because she could so easily be an object of derision. She’s treated so abominably. She’s the person who knows she’s outstayed her welcome and has nowhere to go, so has to suffer the indignity of their derision every day. Carey is so gifted as a comic actress, it is such a genius comic performance, but it is also one of the most devastating, kind of poignant ones. She’s the human collateral, I think, of this family.

Carey Mulligan in 'Promising Young Woman'

Carey Mulligan in ‘Promising Young Woman’

Josey McNamara: She is incredibly gifted comedically, which I don’t think she gets credit for enough, and willing to go and to be transformative as well. I think with this role, it’s such a small amount of time that we had her, but she threw herself into it in terms of how she changed her appearance and the little details with the tattoos and all the different things she brought to it. She really wanted to kind of push outside of the box with it.

5) ‘Saltburn’ Was the First Film Allowed to Shoot at the Real British Estate That Fennell Discovered

'Saltburn' opens in theaters on November 22nd.

‘Saltburn’ opens in theaters on November 22nd. Photo: Amazon MGM Studios.

Although the filmmakers are not allowed to identify the location by name, ‘Saltburn’ was shot primarily at Drayton House, a vast country estate in the East Midlands of England. Constructed in the early 14th century, the house has been owned by the same family for generations. Nothing had ever been filmed there before, which made it perfect for Saltburn.

Josey McNamara: The house is actually the first thing that Emerald and I spoke about, I think, after I read the script. We had the conversation about how important it was we find somewhere that had never been seen before and that would feel original to people and fresh. It was also incredibly important that we had somewhere that we could organically move throughout so we had a fluidity to the way we could shoot the movie. I think Emerald was the one who actually managed to kind of find the house and have all the original conversations, so thank God she managed to do that. I think it really allowed us to embed ourselves with the family, have everyone set themselves up in their characters, and also for the crew to kind of grow with the movie as well and everyone to get to know each other. It allowed us to shoot things in as much story order as possible so people could kind of grow into their characters, grow into the feeling of the movie. It allowed us to feel where the tension was in the movie and adjust and react. We got incredibly lucky with the family who owned the house, and they were really phenomenal with us and became a part of the crew themselves.

'Saltburn' opens in theaters on November 22nd.

‘Saltburn’ opens in theaters on November 22nd. Photo: Amazon MGM Studios. Amazon MGM Studios.

Rosamund Pike: I had opted to stay in the house itself, and I thought, oh, have I made a terrible mistake? Just like that line in the movie, ‘many people get lost in Saltburn.’ I was like, I’m never leaving, because the grounds are huge and I don’t have a car. I’m stuck here.’ It was kind of mad and intense. But it was a wonderful decision because the family were so generous. I had a bedroom in the house [but] I never saw all the rooms in the house. I mean, there were whole staircases I never even entered upon. Whatever you’re picturing as to the scale of this house, just quadruple it.

6) Margot Robbie is Not Just a Producer on the Film, But Was a Driving Force Behind It

Actor/Producer Margot Robbie attends the 'Barbie' Press Junket Photo Call at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. Photo by Eric Charbonneau.

Actor/Producer Margot Robbie attends the ‘Barbie’ Press Junket Photo Call at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. Photo by Eric Charbonneau.

Actors get producing credits on films all the time. But in the case of ‘Saltburn,’ ‘Barbie’ superstar Margot Robbie, her husband, Tom Ackerley, and Josey McNamara produced the movie through their LuckyChap company, and Robbie was very much involved in its creation.

Emerald Fennell: She’s the greatest ever. She’s exceptional. The company that she runs with these guys is unbelievable. She produced ‘Promising Young Woman’ as well as ‘Saltburn.’ I really honestly never want to work with anyone else. Josey, Margot, Tom, they’re all incredible. What’s so remarkable about what she does and what they’re doing is that they have proved, this year more than any, that subversive, smart, complicated, difficult movies can make a serious amount of money, and can be hugely popular. Everyone said, for example, that ‘Barbie’ was unmakeable. ‘Promising Young Woman,’ lots of people wanted to change it, make it more palatable, make it more marketable, or what they perceived would be those things, and Margot and Josey and LuckyChap said absolutely not. They’re resolute. They know what they’re doing. She’s a powerhouse. She’ll take over. They’ll take over, and then they’ll dance on the embers of Hollywood and build it into a nice, beautiful, pink palace. You can count on it.

7) Rosamund Pike Prepared for Her Role by Reading Magazines From 2007

Rosamund Pike as Lady Elsbeth Catton in 'Saltburn.'

Rosamund Pike as Lady Elsbeth Catton in ‘Saltburn.’ Photo: Amazon MGM Studios. Amazon MGM Studios.

Rosamund Pike says she’s met people like Elspeth and prepared for the role by immersing herself in the kinds of things that the matriarch of Saltburn would do.

Rosamund Pike: My research for this role was quite intense. Because Elspeth does absolutely nothing. So it was very important for me to clear my decks. Go on vacation, sit by a pool, decide what swimsuit to wear, order a few cocktails, and order some magazines on eBay from 2007 — it’s not that easy — and read them. As Elspeth, think about all the people who are in the magazines who weren’t her. Because her vanity knows no bounds. That was preparation. I definitely have [met people like Elspeth] — growing up in the UK, and at various times being in those sort of milieus — people who’ve made me uncomfortable [laugh]. For all those times when I’ve been made to feel uncomfortable, it was a kind of payback. You know, the people who you don’t quite know what you’ve done wrong, but you know that there’s something about you that doesn’t fit…I’ve been around it. All the bizarre ways in which the English have this codified social behavior, and nobody tells you what the code is. You certainly know when you break a rule, but you don’t quite know what it is.

8) Emerald Fennell Insisted That the Cast Hang Out Together

Alison Oliver as Venetia Catton, Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick and Jacob Elordi as Felix Catton in 'Saltburn.'

(L to R) Alison Oliver as Venetia Catton, Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick and Jacob Elordi as Felix Catton in ‘Saltburn.’ Photo: Amazon MGM Studios. Amazon MGM Studios.

Much of the time on a movie, the cast members will scatter to their dressing rooms or trailers in between takes or setups. But with the ‘Saltburn’ cast members all supposed to be family (or their inner circle), Emerald Fennell wanted them to spend as much time together as possible.

Rosamund Pike: One thing is that Emerald insists that nobody goes off set into their own kind of world while we’re shooting. You know, there’s no kind of retreating to a trailer or a dressing room or something. She wants everybody to hang out in the same space. So, we had a kind of sitting room in the house that was our green room. And everybody was there. Everybody. From the family to the guys playing the footmen, and Paul Rhys playing the butler, Duncan. So I think that’s one thing. We laughed a lot. We just laughed. We played games, played cards, and played kind of silly word games. My children were around, which is a great icebreaker for everybody. They played with everybody. Just having children on set takes your mind off things. There was a very familial atmosphere. It’s this curious thing where you’re comfortable, and companionable, and very at ease in one another’s company. But nobody really knows how one another is feeling. It’s a very odd thing in these families. The same is when we did sort of, like, little montage things of all of us one evening just watching ‘The Ring.’ They put ‘The Ring’ on the telly, and that was it. We just sat and watched ‘The Ring’…we kept having these things to do as a family that sort of brought us together.

9) The Party Scene Got Very Intense

'Saltburn' opens in theaters on November 22nd.

‘Saltburn’ opens in theaters on November 22nd. Photo: Amazon MGM Studios. Amazon MGM Studios.

The centerpiece of the film’s second half is a costumed birthday party that the Cattons throw for Oliver at Saltburn, a huge bash that gets quite debauched. Apparently it got a little bit that way in real life as well.

Rosamund Pike: The party was so extreme. I mean, even the extras, you know, started hooking up with each other. It was that kind of environment where you felt like anything could happen, and you almost forget you were making a film. It felt that you were at a kind of three-day festival or something. To the point where, I had finished my role because Elspeth was sort of retiring to bed. Then I went back to the place we had for hair and makeup, and I saw this enormous, feathered headdress on the wall. I said, “You know what? I don’t think Elspeth would go to bed. I think she’d put that headdress on, put her dressing gown on, and go back to the party.” So, that’s what I did. [laugh] There’s this shot where they’re dancing to techno later in the night, and you just see this kind of feathered headdress and these sunglasses, and that’s Elspeth up by the DJ probably, you know? I just felt that’s what she’d do.

10) Jacob Elordi Blew Away Both Rosamund Pike and Emerald Fennell

Jacob Elordi as Felix Catton in 'Saltburn.'

(L to R) Jacob Elordi as Felix Catton in ‘Saltburn.’ Photo: Amazon MGM Studios. Amazon MGM Studios.

‘Euphoria’ star Jacob Elordi is having one hell of a year: he’s not only garnering raves for his portrayal of Elvis Presley in Sofia Coppola’s ‘Priscilla,’ but the young Australian nails the pivotal role of Felix Catton in ‘Saltburn.’

Emerald Fennell: He’s absolutely amazing. In many ways, Felix is the hardest part in this movie because he’s sort of the emotional center. He’s put immediately on a pedestal by not just Oliver, but the film, so it was about finding someone who had this unbelievably magnetic charm and charisma, but who was also sort of a gifted actor who understood that this person is still a person, still just a guy. That is profoundly what Jacob did. He came in and he gave this performance for his screen test, and it was exactly what I was looking for, which was that he was kind of mortal. He looked like a god, but he’s mortal.

Jacob Elordi as Felix Catton in 'Saltburn.'

(L to R) Jacob Elordi as Felix Catton in ‘Saltburn.’ Photo: Amazon MGM Studios. Amazon MGM Studios.

Rosamund Pike: Emerald had said that she’d cast this incredibly handsome Australian. I thought, “Well, how’s that going to work?” Then she said, “No, no. He came in and he read, and it just blew us all away.” I still thought, “Yeah, but how is he going to capture the specificity of this English public school boy?” Then I was in L.A., and I met him, and we went for lunch. I was kind of oblivious to quite what a massive star he is. So, of course, poor guy, we were constantly besieged by people coming up to talk to him. He was very gracious and kind. But I realized in that meeting that he’s the real deal. That he’s a proper actor who puts the work in… what he does in the film, for me, is totally astonishing. He gets it pitch perfect.

“We’re all about to lose our minds.”

R2 hr 11 minNov 24th, 2023

Showtimes & Tickets

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… Read the Plot

What is the plot of ‘Saltburn’?

Lonely new Oxford student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan), desperate to make friends, is drawn into the social circle of popular, rich, and powerfully attractive Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi). When Felix invites Oliver to spend the summer at Saltburn, the Catton family’s country estate, Oliver finds himself in the midst of a truly eccentric family whose wealth and privilege mask the emptiness of their existence – until Oliver is added into the mix.

Who is in the cast of ‘Saltburn’?

  • Barry Keoghan (‘The Banshees of Inisherin’) as Oliver Quick
  • Jacob Elordi (‘Priscilla’) as Felix Catton
  • Rosamund Pike (‘I Care a Lot’) as Elspeth Catton
  • Richard E. Grant (‘Loki’) as Sir James Catton
  • Alison Oliver (‘Conversations with Friends’) as Venetia Catton
  • Carey Mulligan (‘She Said’) as Poor Dear Pamela
  • Archie Madekwe (‘Gran Turismo’) as Farleigh Start
Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick, Jacob Elordi as Felix Catton and Alison Oliver as Venetia Catton in 'Saltburn.'

(L to R) Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick, Jacob Elordi as Felix Catton and Alison Oliver as Venetia Catton in ‘Saltburn.’ Photo: Amazon MGM Studios. Amazon MGM Studios.

Other Movies Similar to ‘Saltburn’:

Buy Tickets: ‘Saltburn’ Movie Showtimes

Buy Emerald Fennell Movies on Amazon

#Saltburn #Press #Conference #Crew

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top