Saltburn is ‘absolutely’ a queer film, confirms director Emerald Fennell
Emerald Fennell, director of upcoming psychosexual thriller Saltburn has confirmed that the film is “absolutely” queer in nature.
Oliver joins the university without friends, and is quickly drawn to Felix’s enigmatic presence and regal upbringing as one of the children of the aristocratic Catton family.
As the pair become close, Oliver lets Felix in on his own troubled family history. When Oliver declares he doesn’t want to go home to Prescot, Felix invites him to spend the summer on his family’s opulent estate in Saltburn.
As Oliver joins the family for extravagant feasts and chaotic birthday parties, his fixation with Felix, his mother Elsbeth (Rosamund Pike) and sister Venetia (Alison Oliver) grows into something chilling.
Ever since the film and its cast were announced, movie fans on social media have dubbed Saltburn a “queer” thriller, despite no official confirmation of any sexual or emotional connection between Oliver and Felix.
However, speaking exclusively to PinkNews on the red carpet of the Saltburn premiere at the BFI London Film Festival last night (4 October), director Emerald Fennell confirmed that queerness is at the film’s centre.
You may like to watch
“I think absolutely,” Fennell replied when asked whether she agrees Saltburn is a “queer thriller” film.
“This is a film entirely about desire, and that desire takes every conceivable manifestation, and it’s so important. Yeah, of course, [queerness is] part of the very fabric of the film.”
Fennell, who won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for her 2020 revenge thriller Promising Young Woman, also addressed the film’s approach to masculinity and sexuality, stressing that the Saltburn universe is one where “everyone wants everyone”.
“I think there are some characters in this that are almost so hyper-hetero that they feel comfortable toeing the line, and then there are characters who are absolutely fluid in every conceivable way,” she said.
“I think it’s so interesting. When you write characters, to me, they come out fully formed,” she said. “This is a world where everyone wants everyone.”
In the film’s opening scene, Keoghan’s Oliver declares that he loved, but was not in love with, Elordi’s Felix.
Fennell explained that she wanted the line to open the film as “it was first thing when [she] thought of Saltburn“.
“The thing is, if you see your protagonist telling you… ‘I wasn’t in love with him’, and then we see a thousand shots of the most beautiful man you’ve ever seen… you know you’re in for a ride,” she said.
“You also know that the person you’re dealing with is a liar.”
Saltburn is out in select cinemas on 17 November. It will be released in wider cinemas on 24 November.
MyPinkNews members are invited to comment on articles to discuss the content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Please familiarise yourself with our community guidelines to ensure that our community remains a safe and inclusive space for all.