"Barry really went for it!" the English singer tells PEOPLE of seeing the actor dance to her song "Murder on the Dancefloor"
In a film packed with jaw-dropping moments, the final sequence, scored to the singer's 2001 hit song "Murder on the Dancefloor," arguably takes the cake. Spoiler alert: The scene features Oliver (Barry Keoghan) dancing around his newly inherited Saltburn estate in the buff.
Ellis-Bextor, 44, tells PEOPLE that despite knowing what would occur in the sequence she still "wasn't quite prepared for the visual."
"Seeing it written down as a premise is different," she says. "I mean, Barry really went for it. And it's, like, the whole song!"
"Whenever your music's used, you get a little synopsis," she explains. "So I saw Emerald's name connected to the project and I already was familiar with her and how talented she is. I've seen Promising Young Woman and really enjoyed it."
"This little synopsis described how the character would be dancing, but I didn't have any context. I've got quite a quirky sense of humor anyway, so I was like, I think I have to see how this plays out."
"I didn't really know exactly how it would play in terms of the role it was in the movie until I saw it at the screening, but I absolutely loved it," she adds. "I think it's such a clever, funny, smart film. I really enjoyed it."
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Written by Ellis-Bextor and Gregg Alexander, "Murder on the Dancefloor" was featured on the singer's first album, Read My Lips (2001). It stayed on the U.K. Singles Chart for a whopping 23 weeks, became a top-10 hit worldwide, and still stands as her most successful single to date internationally.
Saltburn — set around the song's release in the mid 2000s — centers on Oliver, an Oxford University student, whose new friend Felix (Jacob Elordi) invites him to spend the summer at his family's estate, named Saltburn. Little do Felix and his exceedingly wealthy family know, but Oliver has his sights set on acquiring their fortune by deadly means.
Ellis-Bextor says she was more than happy for Fennell to use her song in the film, as the Oscar winner "didn't really have a plan B."
"She just felt like it tied everything together in terms of the tone of the film and the juxtaposition of the sort of sweetness of the pop song, but also a little sting in the tail with the lyrics as well," says the singer. "I think it works. But how lovely for me, I mean, look, I've been singing 'Murder' for over 20 years and it's so nice that it still has the power to surprise me."
As for meeting Irish actor Keoghan, 31, after watching him dance nude to her song, Ellis-Bextor says the two "just had a giggle."
"I mean, he's never going to be able to hear that in the same way again," she adds, laughing. "And every time he's out and that comes on, people are going to think he's going to strip off!"
Saltburn is in theaters now.
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