Archie Madekwe About Twisted Relationships & Friendship With Jacob Elordi


  • Saltburn is a movie with dark humor that cleverly explores classism and power imbalances.
  • The relationship between Farleigh (Archie Madekwe) and Oliver (Barry Keoghan) starts as indifference but turns into a dangerous rivalry.
  • The friendship between Farleigh and Felix (Jacob Elordi) seems heartwarming at first but becomes twisted as Farleigh questions how Felix views him, particularly as the only person of color in the group.

Writer-director Emerald Fennell’s second feature film Saltburn is now out in theaters, and it’s sure to create as much buzz as her 2020 debut, Promising Young Woman. In part a modern retelling of Brideshead Revisited, albeit with a much darker tone and sharper tone, the movie tackles classism as the imbalance of power it creates. Barry Keoghan stars as the quick-witted but financially challenged Oliver Quick, who develops an unexpected friendship with the wealthy Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi).

Saltburn begins at Oxford, but after the death of Oliver’s father, Felix asks his new friend to visit the family estate for the summer. There, Oliver must contend with Felix’s deluded parents (played by Rosamund Pike and Richard E. Grant) and seductive sister Venetia (Alison Oliver) — as well as cousin Farleigh (Archie Madekwe), who has been suspicious of Oliver from the start.

Related: Saltburn Review: Barry Keoghan Is Captivating In Emerald Fennell’s Twisted Drama

Screen Rant interviewed Archie Madekwe about his role as Farleigh in Saltburn, how his character and Barry Keoghan’s Oliver lock horns throughout the movie, and how his real-life friendship with Jacob Elordi translated onscreen.

Archie Madekwe Talks Saltburn

Screen Rant: I feel like from the very start, Farleigh just has his eye on Oliver. He knows something’s not right there. Can you talk about that bit of cat-and-mouse dynamic you have with Barry?

Archie Madekwe: Well, it develops. To begin with, it’s not necessarily the intense relationship that it becomes. It’s not cat and mouse, but it begins as, “You can’t serve me in any way. There’s nothing that I need from you.” Everything is self-serving, like, “How does this person benefit me?” for Farleigh.

And he very quickly learns that there’s nothing that Oliver can give him. And then this person that he’s already written off ends up in the friendship group and now also seemingly replaces him as a sidekick to his cousin. And then when he ends up in the house, that’s when they get a bit too close for comfort because they’re both on the outside looking in. And what actually was passive dismissal becomes very active.

It turns into, “If it’s me or you, it’s you. And there isn’t room for both of us. And I don’t trust this. I recognize what you’re doing because we are the same. You are making it a lot more obvious, and if you blow up your spot, maybe you’re going to blow up mine, so I need you gone.” That’s what it becomes. And that grows and grows and grows. And Oliver manipulates that as it goes on, but it’s an interesting dynamic.

On the flip side of that dynamic, we have Jacob as Felix. The relationship he has with Farleigh feels at first very heartwarming and then gets twisted the more we see into Farleigh’s mind and how he thinks Felix views him. Can you talk about working on that with Jacob?

Archie Madekwe: Yeah, the heartwarming thing felt very easy. Jacob’s so lovely and we’ve been friends for a long time, so that was a very easy kind of dynamic to play. But it was obvious and evident that Farleigh was an outsider in more ways than one. And being the only person of color is just something that was very present in the rooms as an actor and as a character.

I don’t think it was something that we even really discussed that much. And I think it was something that, it was the genius of Emerald is that a lot of these things develop as the film goes on. And I feel like it was one of those things that was like, oh, she was like, “We have to go there. We have to talk about this.” Emerald [and I] had a couple of discussions about how we do that, what that scene then becomes, and what Farleigh’s place is in that.

It was something that I’d always thought of with Farleigh, and it just grew into a way more forefront story. But that initial scene was so fun to play and actually, as most scenes in the film, was cut in half. It really ends with Farleigh begging for forgiveness and then feeling unbelievably ashamed of feeling that feeling. I still think you see that in him, that feeling of shame and almost fear at the end, uncertainty, unsure of where he’s going to end up. Because he’s sick of being on the hands and knees every single day of being around his family. It’s hard to keep that inside all the time.

I think that moment is a very un-Farleigh slip, and I think he’s been holding onto that for a long time. That’s the genius of him. He knows how to play that and knows how to pocket that. That’s why he’s been riding through that family for so long. And that’s a moment and that’s on him, but is necessary.

About Saltburn

barry keoghan on saltburn estate

Struggling to find his place at Oxford University, student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) finds himself drawn into the world of the charming and aristocratic Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), who invites him to Saltburn, his eccentric family’s sprawling estate, for a summer never to be forgotten.

Check back soon for our other interview with Paul Rhys.

Saltburn is in theaters now.

Source: Screen Rant Plus

  • Saltburn 2023 Movie Poster


    Release Date:

    Emerald Fennell

    Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Alison Oliver, Archie Madekwe, Carey Mulligan


    131 Minutes

    Comedy, Thriller

    Emerald Fennell

    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, MRC, LuckyChap Entertainment, Lie Still

    Amazon MGM Studios


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