Director Emerald Fennell says she ‘would have got rid of’ Saltburn ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ scene

Saltburn director Emerald Fennell has said she would have been prepared to “get rid of” the iconic “Murder on the Dancefloor” scene.

The queer-coded thriller has become somewhat of a cult classic since its release in November last year. The naked dance scene at the end sent Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s track running up the charts, while bath water candles and even a Lush bath bomb were created in the film’s wake. 

But the iconic end scene may have been excluded if Keoghan felt uncomfortable by the ordeal, which sees his character Oliver Quick dancing completely in the nude after a coke-fuelled experience in the Northamptonshire mansion.

In an interview with both Kheogan and Fennell in W Magazine, the former Call the Midwife star who was behind the movie said: “The thing for me is, if you want to make stuff that’s close to the bone, that’s outrageous and fun and camp and silly, you need to create a space where people feel like they’re safe, that they’re not being shoved off a cliff and that we’re all doing it together. 

“If Barry had changed his mind and said, ‘I don’t want the dance scene at the end to be in the movie,’ I would have got rid of it because consent is ongoing and everyone has a say.

“But that’s why Barry’s remarkable. He wants to be at the sharp end, always. He only finds it interesting there, and that’s how I feel too.”

Consent is so important to Fennell, that she also thanked Zelda Perkins in the end credits. Perkins was a former employee of Harvey Weinstein who broke her non-disclosure agreement when she broke the news about the former film producer and convicted rapist’s abuse, launching what became the #MeToo movement.

It was also Kheogan’s direction in the film which inspired the graveyard sex scene. “On paper, he wasn’t written to do that. But I wanted to see what actually happened, [and] 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 previously 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.

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