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Barry Keoghan Reveals ‘Saltburn’s’ Most Disturbing Scene Was Improvised


Emerald Fennell’s comedic thriller Saltburn has become a cultural phenomenon, with audiences around the world captivated by its… uh… shocking moments. While the film dives into the already controversial themes of class and wealth divide in the U.K., it’s Barry Keoghan’s characters’ disturbing actions that have made all the headlines. And now the Irish actor has revealed that the movie’s most horrifying scene was improvised. Warning: SPOILER ALERT

MORE:New on Prime Video in January 2024

Saltburn
Image: Amazon MGM Studios/ Warner Bros. Pictures

From flashing the world, committing murder, and even slurping Jacob Elordi’s bath cocktail, Keoghan’s Oliver Quick is one wild boy. Strangely enough, these audacious acts were all part of the script, just him following orders. Yet, in a surprising twist, he shared this week that the creepiest, erotic graveyard scene was entirely off the cuff.

I wanted to see what Oliver would do next,” Keoghan, 31, said on the red carpet for the 2024 Golden Globes, per Deadline. “I wanted to see what the next level of obsession was.”

“And by that , I just wanted the camera to roll,” the Batman star continued.

“Not to kind of pre-empt it or rehearse it and what happened, happened. It was one take, and I think it was right. It moved the story forward.”

Saltburn
Image: Amazon MGM Studios/ Warner Bros. Pictures

For those who have tried to forget, Oliver (Keoghan) is captured shedding tears at the gravesite of his beloved “friend” Felix (Jacob Elordi). Overwhelmed, he eventually collapses onto the freshly covered grave, removing his pants, and engages in an (unconventional) display of emotion — dry-humping the mound of dirt. The unexpected sequence quickly gained traction online, prompting widespread shock among fans who discovered the scene unscripted.

The New York Post reported some of the best reactions from fans online.

“What do you mean Barry Keoghan IMPROVISED the graveyard scene in Saltburn,” one fan of the film posted on X. “Shut the h*ll up!! Whaaaat????”

“I know Barry Keoghan took the longest shower of his life after the graveyard scene,” a second user chortled.

“The graveyard scene was apparently improvised and now I have a rational fear of Barry Keoghan,” stated a third person.

Saltburn
Image: Amazon MGM Studios/ Warner Bros. Pictures

Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, Saltburn has achieved significant success. Since its debut on Prime Video, the film has become one of the streamer’s top 10 worldwide debuts and experienced the highest week-over-week growth for any Prime Video film in 2023. According to the platform, Saltburn’s total viewership has nearly quadrupled since its first weekend.

On TikTok alone, Saltburn-themed videos have amassed nearly 4 billion views (one of our favourites in the office is the ‘Jacob Elordi bathtub cocktail’). Moreover, the inclusion of Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s 2002 song Murder on the Dancefloor and Mason and Princess Superstar’s 2007 collaboration Perfect (Exceeder) in the film contributed to their success on music streamers, with the former hitting number 1 on Spotify’s viral U.S. singles chart.

Recognising its achievements, Saltburn has been longlisted in 11 categories for the EE BAFTA Film Awards, including Outstanding British Film, Director, Original Screenplay, Leading Actor (Barry Keoghan), Supporting Actress (Rosamund Pike), and Supporting Actor (Jacob Elordi). The film also received Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama and Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture.

Saltburn
Image: Amazon MGM Studios/ Warner Bros. Pictures