Barry Keoghan’s infamous grave-humping scene in Saltburn left him feeling ‘nauseous’

Barry Keoghan at the Saltburn Premiere

Irish actor Barry Keoghan has been on everyone’s minds since the release of queer-coded Saltburn in November in theatres, and with Amazon making it available to stream on Prime just two months later, the frenzy isn’t going away soon.

In particular, there is one Saltburn scene that people can’t stop talking about; when his character Oliver dry-humped the grave of Jacob Elordi’s upper-glass character Felix – with whom scholarship-kid Oliver has an intense and passionate obsession with throughout the film.

During an appearance on Hot Ones, a YouTube show featuring Sean Evans who interviews celebrities while they eat spicy chicken wings, Keoghan said that he likes to be “pushed” in his roles and that this scene did that for him.

After Evans asked him whether there was “a role or film where you felt particularly close to the edge of something that felt unsafe”, Keoghan said he “shagged a grave in Saltburn” and that you “can’t get closer to death” than that.

He continued: “Saltburn really pushed it. Every role pushes it and I like to be pushed. I don’t want something comfy.”

“I want to really artistically go there and there’s moments on sets and movies where you lose sight of camera and you kind of get this – it’s only for two seconds or so – but it’s like this nauseous feeling where you’re like so present and it’s what we chase. We as actors chase it every time we go on set.”

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That was not the only time Keoghan was stark naked in Saltburn, as the final scene shows his character do a coke-fuelled nude dance to the Sophie Ellis-Bextor song Murder on the Dancefloor, which has since made a resurgence among younger audiences.

Keoghan and Saltburn’s director Emerald Fennell previously previously that the sex scene featuring Felix’s grave wasn’t originally planned for the film.

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“On paper, he wasn’t written to do that. But I wanted to see what actually happened, where I would take it. I wanted to be confused and let my body lead the way. What am I doing? How can I get closer?” Keoghan told Variety.

“It’s trying to find that new level of obsession. Trying to level up on the obsession,” Keoghan said, adding that he asked Fennell for a closed set so that he could try something out, which led to the scene appearing in the final edit of Saltburn.

Barry Keoghan previously appeared in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and The Killing of a Sacred Deer alongside Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman, and more recently in Marvel’s Eternals and The Banshees of Inisherin.

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