'Saltburn' Stars on Lapping Up Man Juice, Dancing in the Buff, and More
Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.
Jacob Elordi and Barry Keoghan, the stars of the homoerotic thriller "Saltburn," opened up to Variety's Marc Malkin about some envelope-pushing scenes.
Malkin chatted with the two hunky actors on the red carpet at the film's Los Angeles premiere – the same occasion when Elordi and Keoghan thrilled onlookers (and social media) with a near-kiss after Keoghan gave his co-star a long, adoring look.
The movie follows what happens when an upper-crust Oxford university student named Felix (Elordi) invites a new friend from a lower social class, Oliver (Keoghan) to spend the summer with him and his family at their sprawling summer estate. A tale of obsession and sex unwinds, including "several graphic scenes that have left moviegoers debating whether to be titillated or disturbed," Malkin wrote for the entertainment outlet.
Stop here if you want to avoid spoilers – but for the eyebrow-raising details, read on.
"In one scene," Malkin related, "Keoghan watches Elordi masturbate in a bathtub. Keoghan is seen licking up Elordi's semen around the tub's drain."
When Malkin asked him about the scene, Elordi was jocular, saying, "I was like, 'Thank God, it's mine.'"
Added the "Euphoria" actor: "I was very proud to have Barry Keoghan guzzling it like that."
Keoghan, for his part, said that Elordi "doesn't text me back or ring me back. It's so weird. He's pretending to like me. It's weird, man."
Keoghan's character doesn't limit his sexual impulses to Elordi's Felix. Oliver also ends up in sexual situations with different members of Felix's family, including his cousin, Farleigh (Archie Madekwe). Speaking with Malkin about his intimate scene with Keoghan, Madekwe said, "It was a real pinch-me moment to have a scene with an actor I've respected for so long."
Madekwe went on to say that Keoghan, who scored an Oscar nom for his supporting role in last year's "The Banshees of Inishirin," "has such an intensity. He has these eyes that [director] Emerald [Fennell] describes as 'shark eyes.' You just don't know what he's thinking."
But the Irish actor did explain his thoughts when it came to the moment when Oliver "humps the ground of a cemetery plot," Malkin noted.
"The gravesite was sort of like a collaboration with me and Emerald," Keoghan told Malkin. "On the day, I was like, 'Can I try something?' I wanted to see what the next level of obsession was. So I asked for a closed set. I wanted to see where it went. It could have gone completely wrong but I think it moved the story."
Fennell reflected, "If you're taken over with grief and horror and love and sadness, people do crazy things. And that's what this film is about."
Of the audience's reaction to the film's sexual adventurousness, the director said, "Some people are screaming, some people are squealing. Some people are turned on, some people are freaked out and some are furious. Some people don't really care."
"What you want is for people to spill out into the street and want to go and have a drink and talk about it," Fennell added.
Malkin also spoke with Keoghan about the scene in which Oliver "goes full Monty dancing to Sophie Ellis-Bextor's 2001 hit song, 'Murder on the Dancefloor,'" relaying that "Keoghan insisted it was cold during filming."
"It certainly didn't look cold," Malkin assured the actor.
Keoghan's response? "No comment."
Malkin's article set X (formerly known as Twitter) alight all over again.
Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.