In a recent interview with Variety, Keoghan recalled asking director Emerald Fennell, “Can I have a closed set? I’d like to try something.” On paper, Ollie was apparently just supposed to cry by Felix’s grave, which would’ve been a pretty standard grieving scene that wouldn’t have ruffled any feathers, but also would’ve been far less memorable. Keoghan, of course, had another idea:
“I wanted to see what actually happened, where I would take it. I wanted to be confused and let my body lead the way. What am I doing? How can I get closer? It’s trying to find that new level of obsession. Trying to level up on the obsession.”
It’s easy to understand his mindset. Throughout the film, his character is obsessed with Felix in an all-encompassing way. This is all complicated by the fact that Felix is apparently straight, and that their class differences likely mean the two can never make any real relationship work. (Granted, it turns out that the class difference between the two isn’t nearly as large as Ollie made it out to be in the beginning, but this reveal only makes the fulfilment of Ollie’s desire for Felix even more unlikely.) Now, Felix is dead, and Ollie’s desire is fully unattainable. “He’s a lost boy who’s confused and doesn’t know what he’s chasing,” Keoghan said.
Although the grave sex was Keoghan’s improvisation, Fennell still deserves at least some of the credit (or blame) for the results. In an Entertainment Weekly interview, Keoghan recalled how Fennell suggested to him beforehand that Ollie would probably do something along these lines, although she didn’t tell him exactly what to do: “She plants seeds, Emerald, you know what I mean?”