“This could easily have been set in Hollywood,” Emerald Fennell mentioned of her new movie Saltburn, throughout a post-screening Q&A on the Academy Museum in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening.

The precise setting is, the truth is, a great distance from Hollywood. Fennell’s sophomore follow-up to her Oscar Greatest Image-nominated, Greatest Screenplay-winner Promising Younger Lady, Saltburn follows Oliver (Barry Keoghan), an Oxford College scholar who befriends Felix (Jacob Elordi), an aristocratic, manor-born adonis.

Plunged into the eccentric world of the über-posh British higher lessons on a go to to Felix’s household property, Oliver is each awkward outsider and furtive observer. We meet Felix’s mother and father (Rosamund Pike and Richard E. Grant), his ascerbic cousin (Archie Madekwe), and wayward sister (Alison Oliver). Fennell additionally reunites together with her Promising Younger Lady star Carey Mulligan for an all-too-short stint as an unhinged houseguest.

Fennell’s Hollywood comparability, she mentioned, is that “Oliver suffers from something that I think that we all suffer from to some degree. But in this town, maybe more than ever, which is wanting to be something, wanting to be someone.”

Oliver has, “worked his whole life to get to this place, to get to Oxford, this place that he’s fantasized about that he thinks will unlock this door.” However when he arrives at college, he nonetheless can not slot in, together with his blazer and tie and his official faculty scarf, amid a crowd of artfully-louche posh children. “All of the stuff he thought that was worthwhile, it’s all a trick.”

With the motion set within the aughts, the wardrobe of that British privileged youth was key, Fennell advised moderator Karyn Kusama. When costume designer Sophie Canale zeroed in on the necessity for Elordi’s character to be sporting two polo shirts on the identical time, as per the model of the period, Fennell mentioned her response was, “F***! You’ve got to get on this, that’s it. It’s the bad extensions; it’s the too-many accessories.”

For Fennell the movie is actually “a vampire film”, in that it’s about an outsider sucking the marrow from the life he envies. Fennell mentioned she and DP Linus Sandgren had mentioned how the vampiric issue “works both ways” too, with Oliver and with Felix’s super-privileged household.

She additionally cited Caravaggio’s work as a visible reference, including, “When you are making something very stylized, when you are making something which is about the fetishization of beauty, you want it to be beautiful.”

However Fennell politely shied away from Kusama’s compliments on her script, saying she couldn’t reference writing in any respect, given the present strike.

“But also, WGA strong,” Fennell mentioned, “I hope we kick their f***ing asses.”

Saltburn is in U.S. theaters from November twenty fourth.