Saltburn’s Archie Madekwe had to have “cigarette lessons” for the movie

Saltburn’s Archie Madekwe has revealed that he had none other than “cigarette lessons” to prepare for his movie role.

The actor plays Farleigh Start in Emerald Fennell’s film, who is the American cousin of Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi).

Saltburn’s mid-noughties setting means the characters are often seen smoking, and in an exclusive chat with Digital Spy, Madekwe admitted this was something which was new to him.

“It was a real step away from myself,” he said, of playing such a different character. “I’d never even smoked a cigarette before.”

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Co-star Alison Oliver, who plays Venetia Catton, said: “You had cigarette lessons, didn’t you?”

“I asked for cigarette lessons,” Madekwe confirmed. “It’s the worst in the world when you watch someone that can’t smoke a cigarette and you know they’ve never smoked before. So I had cigarette lessons. I was just constantly smoking 24/7.”

Unlike Barry Keoghan’s character Oliver, who is a complete outsider, Farleigh exists both inside and outside the family and requires a monthly allowance from Felix’s father.

Madekwe said that he enjoyed playing these different layers of the character as part of the role.

“You find motivation from every scorn, side-eye and bad look,” he said. “There’s a reason why they’re all coming. I actually think so much of it is just defence mechanism.

archie madekwe holding a cigarette, saltburn trailer

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“There’s definitely a lot of judgment, but a lot of that judgment comes from fear of being found out. He’s always on the outside looking in.”

Ahead of Saltburn’s streaming release on Prime Video next week (December 22), star Keoghan opened up about his collaboration with writer and director Fennell during filming.

He said: “We always chat, we always try to justify the actions, the motives, and we’ll debate some stuff.

“We’ll go, ‘That works, that doesn’t’. That just shows the level of trust we have for one another.”

Saltburn is in UK cinemas now and drops on Prime Video on December 22.

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After studying for an English degree at the University of Exeter, Erin completed a PPA-accredited Masters in Magazine Journalism at Cardiff University. She recently joined the team at Digital Spy, writing across both news and features. 

Erin is a fan of all things TV, from comedy and drama to reality TV and soaps.

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Ali has been covering TV and movies for more than four years, all while wrangling Digital Spy’s social media and video channels – for which he received a PPA 30 Under 30 award.  He specializes in writing about anime, LGBTQ+ representation, science fiction, and comic book adaptations.  Recently he’s begun collecting Star Wars interviews like Infinity Stones and has spoken with The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal, Andor showrunner Tony Gilroy and the creative team behind The Bad Batch. Dave Filoni, you’re next.