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Amid Saltburn’s Infamous Nude Scene, Barry Keoghan Opens Up About His Rising Sex Symbol Status

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Fair warning that there are MAJOR SPOILERS for Saltburn‘s ending mentioned throughout the article.

To say that Emerald Fennell’s black comedy Saltburn had memorable scenes would be an understatement. The internet’s obsession and all of those memes had to do with the Golden Globe-nominated film’s most outrageous moments all involving Barry Keoghan’s character baring all. With one of the film’s most controversial scenes featuring Oliver doing a nude dance, the Irish actor dishes on his rising sex symbol status.

At the end of Saltburn, when Oliver celebrates snagging the Saltburn estate and his friend’s family fortune, he struts his stuff completely naked to Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “Murder on the Dancefloor” from one end of the property to the other. After this nude scene, you better believe people will look at Barry Keoghan in a completely different way. The Dunkirk actor told ET how he felt about his newfound status as a sex symbol:

It’s crazy… It’s definitely new to me. I’ve not been in this position before, but it’s nice to kind of go from that to this, you know, to show that range as well. You know the reaction has just been… just unreal.

As we’ve seen Barry Keoghan playing sinister characters in The Killing of Sacred Deer and his film portrayal of The Joker in The Batman, the 31-year-old hasn’t had many chances to show off his sex appeal in films. But from receiving Oscar nominations for his deep performance in The Banshees of Inisherin to getting Golden Globe nominations for Saltburn, Barry Keoghan’s acting career is sure to give him more opportunities to expand his range. Like the Fair City actor told GQ, another benefit to his new image is “not just being looked at as the weird-looking guy, the unique feckin’ freaky little freak man-child” 

When it came to making Barry Keoghan’s naked dance scene, director Emerald Fennell’s goal was to make the film’s conclusion filled with “triumph” mixed with “evil glee.” She also couldn’t help but make this scene twisted in wanting to make audiences laugh when they shouldn’t. Considering Oliver was able to get what he wanted through deception and murder, you definitely feel conflicted between being on the main character’s side or being turned off by his actions. But the Promising Young Woman director said Oliver being nude while doing that celebratory dance was necessary to show he could do whatever he wanted in his new estate.

The Batman actor didn’t even need a nude double to take on those scenes. If anything, the most difficult thing about shooting that final sequence was having to dance! Keoghan didn’t describe himself as much of a dancer having to move his body in a way he wasn’t used to, but once he nailed that, the young actor felt the rest came easy for him. As Keoghan told ET, though, you won’t be seeing him taking on any hip-shaking Elvis roles in the future.

With Barry Keoghan’s nude scenes in Saltburn leading to his rising status as a sex symbol, I have a feeling more sexy roles are going to come his way. Until then, you can watch Keoghan groove in the nude for the psychological thriller available with your Prime subscription. You can also look at our 2024 movie releases so you’ll know about Keoghan’s upcoming projects.

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