If you’ve heard one thing about the movie Saltburn — Emerald Fennell’s buzzy dark comedy about an Oxford student who’s invited to his wealthy classmate’s family estate over the summer — it might be that the movie includes a lengthy scene that sees star Barry Keoghan dancing completely nude to Sophie Ellis-Baxtor’s 2001 U.K. hit “Murder on the Dancefloor.”
In a new interview with People, Ellis-Baxtor said all she knew was that the song would be used for a dance scene, but she had no idea just how much of the song would be played or that Keoghan would be naked. “This little synopsis described how the character would be dancing, but I didn’t have any context,” she said. “I’ve got quite a quirky sense of humor anyway, so I was like, ‘I think I have to see how this plays out.’”
The British singer/songwriter had seen Fennell’s breakout 2020 movie Promising Young Woman, so when she saw the writer/director’s name attached, she was onboard. “Seeing it written down as a premise is different,” Ellis-Baxtor said of the scene. “I mean, Barry really went for it. And it’s, like, the whole song!”
“Murder on the Dancefloor” was a minor hit in the United States — peaking at No. 26 on Billboard‘s Dance Club Songs chart — but it was massive in Ellis-Bextor’s native U.K., climbing as high as No. 2 on the Official Charts Company’s singles chart. Ellis-Bextor co-wrote the song with New Radicals’ Gregg Alexander.
Saltburn — which also co-stars Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike and Carey Mulligan — debuted at the Telluride Film Festival in late August and hit theaters on Nov. 17. It’s now streaming on Prime Video. Keoghan is nominated for best actor in a motion picture at the 2024 Golden Globes on Jan. 7, while Pike is nominated for best supporting actress in a motion picture.
Ellis-Bextor says Fennell told her she “didn’t really have a plan B” if she couldn’t use the song in Saltburn, but the musician thinks it all worked perfectly. “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.”
Revisit “Dancefloor” below: