Saltburn is the new dark comedy that is trending not only on social media but worldwide. The title has been added to the list of masterpieces by Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), who directed and wrote the film, featuring an all-star cast.

It not only portrays a somewhat disturbing and uncomfortable story but is also filled with drama and chaos. Jacob Elordi (Euphoria), Barry Keoghan (The Batman) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) are some of the top-tier actors who brought the main characters to life: Felix Catton, Oliver Quick and Elsbeth Catton.

Numerous viewers, eager to hit the play button on the film available on Prime Video since its release on November 17, have found themselves pondering the origins of its narrative. They’re curious to know whether it’s adapted from a book, an original creation by the filmmaker, or inspired by real-life events. In this article, we’ll uncover the roots of this dark comedy.

Is Saltburn based on a book?

Saltburn is not based on a book. It has come to life thanks to an original concept from the writer and director. In an interview with Another Magazine, Emerald Fennell explained that she drew inspiration from some gothic books, such as LP Hartley’s The Go-Between, Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.

“British, gothic, and rural cinema is a very established genre. Saltburn needed to have the same narrative rhythms and visual language. So, it doesn’t feel so familiar to you as you go along”, the filmmaker affirmed. She also mentioned that some books by Patricia Highsmith served as a significant influence in creating the atmosphere.

Is Saltburn based on a true story?

Well, no. Saltburn is also not based on a 100 percent real story; rather, some experiences of Emerald Fennell herself served as inspiration for some scenes or the intricate creation of the main characters.

In addition to the novels and literary titles that helped shape the extroverted and chaotic narrative of Saltburn, the screenwriter also drew inspiration from her own experiences, as she graduated from the University of Oxford, where the film is set.

“Whether (Saltburn is) about my time in Oxford or not, it’s more about my obsession and all of our obsessions with looking at the things we want. The constant observation and endless voyeurism, the bottomless pit of people’s voracious need and desire for their homes and families”, she concluded.

What is Saltburn about?

The story of Saltburn follows an Oxford University student, Oliver Quick, who becomes entangled in the world of a charming and aristocratic classmate, Felix Catton. Felix invites Oliver to the extensive estate of his eccentric family for an unforgettable summer.

As the scenes unfold, viewers may find themselves succumbing to dark desire, perverse obsession and moments that are somewhat uncomfortable, chaotic and philosophical among the characters. In addition to Elordi and Keoghan, the main cast includes Sadie Soverall, Archie Madekwe, Ewan Mitchell, Julian Lloyd Patten, Matthew Carver and more.

Who are the main actors in Saltburn?

Saltburn is not only filled with big stars but also has a cast of many main actors. However, there are two of them who steal the scene and have been highlighted on several occasions for delivering great performances. One of them is Barry Keoghan, who stated that this film marked the end of his “little freak child-man era”.

During an interview with GQ, the actor, known for his role in Eternals and as Oliver Quick in Emerald Fennell’s work, added, “Now I’m just Man. Freak-Man. Man-Freak”. After the title premiered on Prime Video, viewers turned him into one of the men of the moment, becoming one of the most sought-after stars.

On the other hand, another actor who has suddenly stepped into the spotlight is Jacob Elordi, who already had great popularity from Priscilla. However, his fame has skyrocketed overnight, making him one of the most sought-after celebrities by directors. He will soon bring Guillermo del Toro’s Frankenstein to life.

In addition to the two lead actors, Rosamund Pike also played a key role in the project, portraying the entitled matriarch, wealthy, and beautiful Elspeth Catton. Although she may not be present in many scenes, she starred in some quite epic and crucial moments for the development of the plot.

What genre does Saltburn belong to?

Well, Saltburn doesn’t belong to a single genre per se, as the story incorporates elements of suspense, romance, comedy and drama. It can be considered a mystery film and even a psychological thriller in some of its scenes.

Genres evolve over the decades, and this time, its director, Emerald Fennell, crafted a work that belongs to more than one, especially due to the dark and transgressive pleasures of the main characters.

What movies or shows are similar to Saltburn?

Saltburn has a rather peculiar and strange style, so not many movies carry the same imprint. However, after the story became mega-popular, many fans started looking for titles with a similar dark and enigmatic vibe.

Here, check out some of the productions you can watch if you enjoyed the film produced by Emerald Fennell, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley and Josey McNamara:

  • The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) – Available on Paramount+ and Hulu.
  • A Simple Favor (2018) – Available on Fubo and Amazon Prime Video.
  • Triangle of Sadness (2022) – Available on Hulu.
  • Cruel Intentions (1999) – Available on Amazon Prime Video.
  • The Killing of the Sacred Deer (2017) – Available on Netflix.
  • The Riot Club (2014) – Available on Amazon Prime Video and AMC+.
  • Thoroughbreds (2017) – Available on Hulu.
  • The Menu (2022) – Available on Max and Hulu.