Jacob Elordi is quickly building up a resume of iconic party scenes, starting with his work on Euphoria and now in his new movie, Saltburn.
The film, written and directed by Emerald Fennell, follows Oxford student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan), who is brought into the world of the charming and aristocratic Felix Catton (Elordi) when he is invited to spend the summer at Saltburn, Felix’s eccentric family’s sprawling estate. The parties rage on at the castle, and Elordi joked that filming these festivities were “way faster than shooting a Euphoria party scene, for sure.”
Fennell also “did this Kubrick thing — one of the dinner scenes was all candlelit, so you don’t get that in Euphoria, there’s way more neon lights,” he told The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s Los Angeles premiere on Tuesday. “The vibe is really different.”
In reading the script, Elordi said the story “wasn’t what I was expecting at all,” but he signed on just to work with Fennell — who was coming off an Oscar win for best original screenplay for her directorial debut Promising Young Woman. “It’s her world, so I really just tried to go in as much of a blank canvas as I could possibly be and just listen and drink it in.”
Keoghan added that Fennell became “like a big sister to me,” and “I feel like I can make certain choices around her and she gives me that comfortability to really let my shoulders down and kind of expose myself a little.”
Fennell explained that she was inspired to write the story during the pandemic, about “that kind of desire that drives you completely mad. I think honestly we were living in a time where we couldn’t touch people, and I think this is a film about what happens to you when you can’t touch someone.”
Elordi and Keoghan are joined by a supporting cast that includes Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan, Richard E. Grant and Archie Madekwe, as the director said the casting was “about making a family and seeing how they interact with each other, seeing the tension and the love and the stickiness,” as she deadpanned, “they’re all very sticky.”
With Margot Robbie as a producer and Mulligan in a small role, Fennell reunites the Promising Young Woman trio, explaining that they love to collaborate because “we’re pushing each other all the time to make things that are better, to make things that are more complicated or interesting. We love each other and trust each other and that’s very hard to come by in the world in general, but particularly when you’re making movies, so I love them.”
Fennell also made a cameo appearance in Robbie’s Barbie this year — as pregnant Barbie Midge — and explained how Greta Gerwig inspired her own work.
“I just honestly think she is truly the most exceptional leader, gifted craftsperson. Walking on that set and seeing my whole childhood made real with that amount of care and that amount of love, it was so moving honestly,” she said of Gerwig. “Everything about the way that she works is an inspiration. She’s one of the greats.”
Saltburn opens in select theaters on Friday.