Jacob Elordi snuck into a theater to get the full 'interactive experience' of “Saltburn”

Jacob Elordi snuck into a theater to get the full 'interactive experience' of “Saltburn”

"I haven't been in a theater where people audibly groan and say 'no' before," he says.

Saltburn star Jacob Elordi was "a little nervous" to watch his new film at its splashy Hollywood premiere this week, so he says — rather sheepishly — that he "kind of stepped out" instead.

Never mind, though, as the Australian star recently made sure to watch the wild film — which has elicited very audible reactions at every screening EW staffers have attended — with an audience to get the full experience. "I snuck into a theater back home in Australia. They were doing a screening of it a couple of weeks ago, and I sat in the back and watched it, and I was taken by how much of a kind of immersive, interactive experience it was," he says.

Elordi continues, "I haven't been in a theater where people audibly groan and say 'no!' So that was a real treat. I feel like it was almost like a trip back to what going to the cinema would've been like when it was sort of the sole form of entertainment."

Written and directed by Promising Young Woman Oscar winner Emerald Fennell, Saltburn is best described, as EW writes in its A-grade review, as "a perverse, psychosexual thriller." It follows a lonely and enigmatic Oxford student, Oliver (Banshees of Inisherin Oscar nominee Barry Keoghan), who is invited to the titular Saltburn estate for the summer by uber-rich and handsome classmate Felix (Elordi). What starts off as a summer of fun and longing quickly turns into one of dark and depraved obsession.

<p>Courtesy of Prime</p> Jacob Elordi in 'Saltburn'

Courtesy of Prime

Jacob Elordi in 'Saltburn'

It's a bit ironic then, that Elordi made headlines earlier this week for telling GQ that he opted to not read for the newest Superman film because it was "too dark" for him. When this irony is pointed out to him, Elordi laughs. "No, no. Saltburn is not too dark for me. The other stuff's just a little too big for me, I think is what I was talking about. Not so much the subject matter of the story," he clarifies.

Regardless of his reasons, Elordi says he had the opposite reaction when the opportunity to audition for Saltburn came his way. "I'd had a sit down with Emerald, and if you spend five minutes with her, you'll follow her wherever she's going to go," he says. "So I was in a spot where I really, really wanted to make whatever it was that she was making after we spoke, and then I got the script, and then it was like, 'Oh, f---, I really have to do this.'"

His audition for the thriller was his first in-person tryout since the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Euphoria star says it made him come to life in a way. "It was like being in the theater or something. I felt like I'd been plugged back into the source of what performance was all about. So it was, for me, an invitation back into acting," says the star.

It's a hell of an invitation; without getting into spoiler territory, it's safe to say that the film allows for a plethora of devilish fun for its actors. But, when it came to playing the golden boy of Oliver's desires, Elordi says his preparation was quite the opposite. "With Felix, I had this opportunity to play somebody who on the surface is pure joy and happiness and light and gold. So for me, it was, how can I kind of emulate that in my real life and how can I come into this film as a ray of golden light?" he says.

MGM/YouTube Jacob Elordi in 'Saltburn'
MGM/YouTube Jacob Elordi in 'Saltburn'

And because Felix has only known smiles and sunshine in his perfectly privileged life, when the going gets tough in the film, "he reacts like a child because he's not used to not being given gold," says Elordi. "So that was kind of my carry-through. The whole thing was like, how can I try to personify the sun, as dick-y as that sounds?"

Elordi and his golden boy alter ego can be seen in Saltburn now in limited theaters. The film, which also stars Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Alison Oliver, Archie Madekwe, and Carey Mulligan, goes wide Nov. 22.

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