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saltburn grave scene

Here’s what Saltburn’s director has to say about THAT shocking grave scene

Members of the crew were asked to leave the set while it was filmed

If you’ve accidentally just watched the most divisive film of the year surrounded by your family this festive season, you may be left in a state of shock and dishevelment wondering what Saltburn’s sex scenes are actually all about. Apparently, nothing says Happy New Year like you and your grandma seeing Barry Keoghan tongue a plug hole.

But, undeniably, the plot point which has haunted viewers most from Saltburn’s myriad of mayhem moments was (spoiler) when Barry’s character Oliver goes to his best friend Felix’s (Jacob Elordi) grave in the rain and starts to thrust himself into the soil. Dark.

Love or hate Saltburn, it’s a lot to wrap your head around. So, in case you’re still confused by the most unexpectedly horny plot point of 2023, here’s what the film’s director, Emerald Fennell has to say about Saltburn’s shocking grave scene:

Saltburn grave scene

In the original script for Saltburn, Oliver wasn’t written to have sex with a grave – there was only kissing and fingering involved. But on the morning the scene was scheduled to be filmed, director Emerald Fennell pulled Barry aside for a chat to voice some concerns she was having:

“I spoke to Barry in the morning, and I just said, ‘I don’t know, Barry. I think that he would…unzip,’” she told Entertainment Weekly. “And Barry just said, ‘Yup.’”

“She plants seeds, Emerald, you know what I mean?” Barry added. “She knows that they’re going to grow, these seeds, especially when she plants them with me. But it is a testament to Emerald and having that idea and me meeting it with, to be honest, no questions. I was totally on board for it.”

When asked about why he thought the unexpected scene made sense in Saltburn, Barry explained: “It was required…It’s the next level up in obsession.” Meanwhile, Emerald told Variety: “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.”

To shoot the scene, only a handful of people were allowed to be there for filming: only Emerald, Barry, cinematographer Linus Sandgren, and script supervisor Sam Donovan were permitted to watch the scene play out— and the rest of the cast and crew were told to leave.

“For me, it wasn’t about fecking 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,” Barry told Entertainment Weekly of the moment. “It was a total discovery for him, I think. And it was sad. It was very, very sad.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Right, was Barry Keoghan wearing a prosthetic in THAT Saltburn final scene

• Okay, this is why everyone’s accusing Jacob Elordi of ‘queerbaiting’ right now

• A-list stars and nepo babies: Inside Jacob Elordi’s long and winding relationship history