Skip to content Skip to footer

Rosamund Pike: Saltburn

This movie is, on some level, a genre-bender. Could we perhaps best describe it as a satire?

I would definitely entertain the word “satire.” It’s a satirical thriller. But there’s nothing in the film that isn’t real. This is how these people exist. So, in a way, you could call it documentary [laughs]. The way that the Cattons live, people do live like that — still — in England. I think Emerald Fennell, our writer-director, she’s looking at obsession — that’s her interest. She’s examining the nature of obsession and the way that people want to control and consume the thing that they’re obsessed with. And it’s [only] one step removed from our obsessions that rule our minds on social media; she’s just using the setting of the English aristocracy to examine obsessions in general, within our culture.

Prime Video

Is it a tricky process locating the grounded humanity in a heightened, larger-than-life character like Lady Elspeth?

I don’t think I would know how to pitch it if I were to try to play “heightened.” The whole performance would fall flat if I did. I think your duty as an actor, especially if you’re trying to play comedy, is to play the truth of it. She’s living her truth, Elspeth. She’s a woman who’s living in extremes. She loves and she loathes; she finds someone fascinating or ghastly . . . she gets bored easily, she’s a social butterfly. Of course, underneath it, there’s all kinds of underpinnings of insecurity — what she needs, what she wants out of people. And I think one of the things Emerald looks at is, you can see all of these characters’ needs; they’re all laid bare. Actually, Oliver [Barry Keoghan], our outsider, who we feel very sympathetic to at the beginning — that’s what he feasts on. Because he’s very clever, and he’s able to see their need. It’s interesting to be looking at “need” in a very wealthy setting, where people appear to have so much, but what they have is an emotional deficit. That’s where the drama lies.

Emerald’s films tend to be acclaimed, but also divisive. Do you think that’s a good thing — as opposed to worrying about your Rotten Tomatoes score?

I think it’s essential. Emerald . . . she’s a provocateur, and if you want to be provocative, you’re not going to please everybody. She enjoys making people feel uncomfortable. And I enjoy a film that makes people feel uncomfortable — especially in our self-censoring world that we’re living in today, where everybody’s fearful about what comes out of their mouth and everybody feels they’re going to be judged. People are frightened to air an opinion — or it’s not even safe anymore to have a difference of opinion. I think people have forgotten that that’s OK — that you can still have a friend that you disagree with; you can be politically on the different side of a spectrum from someone you like very much. To be part of a film that’s causing conversation — I enjoy that.

And it’s entertaining. Remember, this is a film that young people are going to, in the cinema, and thinking, “This is the f***ing best movie of our generation. This is going to define our times.” And that reaction, you’re just like, “Yes! This is making an impact.” My friend sat in a movie theatre in New York and this group of 18-25-year-olds behind them were like, “The movies are back!” So if someone, somewhere is saying it made them uncomfortable and is writing an op-ed about that, then who cares? I’ll go with the reaction of the people who are feeling that this movie defines their generation.

Saltburn, streaming on Prime Video


She’s no doubt best known as the sociopathic antiheroine in 2014 thriller Gone Girl, for which the London-born actress scored an Oscar nom. But that’s just one entry in a truly impeccable CV that also includes a Golden Globe-winning turn in pitch-black crime dramedy I Care a Lot and the lead role in hit fantasy series The Wheel of Time.


The second film from Oscar-winning Promising Young Woman director Emerald Fennell casts Pike as Lady Elspeth Catton, matriarch of an obscenely rich U.K. family. One fateful summer, the Cattons play host to a mysterious lower-class college student at their lavish estate — leading to a tense, darkly comedic game of cat-and-mouse between the haves and the have-not.

Leave a comment

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Ritatis et quasi architecto beat

Whoops, you're not connected to Mailchimp. You need to enter a valid Mailchimp API key.