Write On: 'Saltburn' Writer/Director Emerald Fennell
December 19, 2023
“I like having sympathy for the devil. And all of them are devilish!” says Emerald Fennell about her characters in the new film Saltburn.
Writer/director/actress Emerald Fennell dazzled us with 2020’s Promising Young Woman, for which she took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Now she’s back with Saltburn, a shocking romantic tragedy (or triumph according to her!). On this episode of the podcast, I speak to Emerald in depth about crafting the screenplay for Saltburn and finding empathy for even the most devilish characters.
Just a note: there are spoilers in this interview which I feel are crucial to breaking down some of the most controversial scenes in the film, including the taboo “vampire scene” and the startling “bathtub scene.”
“That scene was never meant to be disgusting. It is a love scene. It’s an act of, not service quite, but of devotion. It’s a kind of prayer. I think the thing films often get wrong about sex is that it’s just two people rubbing up against each other, it’s penetration. But the really fascinating thing about sex and desire is that it’s much, much more complicated than that,” says Emerald Fennell.
Saltburn stars Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi and Rosemund Pike. It’s currently playing in theaters and streams on Amazon Prime Dec. 22.
Written by: Shanee EdwardsShanee Edwards is an L.A.-based screenwriter, journalist and novelist who recently won The Next MacGyver television writing competition to create a TV show about a female engineer and was honored to be mentored by actress/producers America Ferrera. Shanee's first novel, Ada Lovelace: The Countess Who Dreamed in Numbers was published by Conrad Press in 2019. Currently, she is working on a biopic of controversial nurse Florence Nightingale. Shanee’s ultimate goal is to tell stories about strong, spirited women whose passion, humor and courage inspire us all.