Triangle Of Sadness Director Reveals Nauseating Way That Vomit Scene Came Together For The Best Picture Nominee

Woody Harrelson holding up a wine glass in Triangle of Sadness.
(Image credit: Neon)

Arguably one of the grossest scenes in a movie from 2022 was the vomiting scene in the Academy Award-nominated Triangle of Sadness. The film from Ruben Östlund, while literally gross, has become a beloved satire, and at the center of it is this puking scene that happens on a yacht during a storm. Now that this eat the rich satire has received multiple Oscar nominations, the director and production designer are breaking down one of the film’s most memorable, and nauseating, scenes, and explaining just how hard it was to film. 

A major focal point of Triangle of Sadness is this barf-tastic scene on the open seas. It’s a drawn-out dinner sequence where all the rich guests go to a fancy dinner during a massive storm. The boat is shaking like crazy, and it’s clear that they really shouldn’t be eating during this storm, for multiple reasons. While the scene is disgusting, it's also a massive reason why the film ended up being on various best of 2022 lists, because it shows off the technical mastery of the film. When it came to putting the scene together, Östlund talked about the logistical challenges, and the real seasickness that happened on set, explaining in a BTS video from Deadline:

One of the really big challenges when it comes to choreographing and shooting the captain’s dinner scene with all the vomiting and the kind of chaos that I’m trying to create is that we were shooting that scene for 13 days and we were on a rocking set. Everything was chaotic. Actually, part of the film crew had to eat seasick pills in order to not get seasick themselves.

You know they went to great lengths when the crew had to take seasick pills, and they weren’t even on a real boat. They were on a set that was rigged up so it could move around like a boat. Östlund discussed how they created the movement of this tipsy scene, and how that impacted the movie, saying:

I definitely didn’t want to rock the camera in order to create waves, I wanted to see the bodies of the actors that the whole boat was rocking…We should build the interior of the dining room, a corridor, a couple of the cabins on a gimbal, so we could rock the whole set in order to simulate the storm.

Josefin Åsberg, the production designer, explained that they did this so they could control the movement of the boat, and be very precise with how the ocean treated the boat during the movie. She also went into detail about how they designed the puke in the movie, noting that it was different from character to character. 

Regarding the vomit, we also did tests of the color and the texture and adjusted each to each character. We chose to have a white carpet in the dining room. It gave the right feeling of a luxury yacht and also made the clearing scene more painful that the cleaning ladies rubbed puke off white carpet.

It’s so fascinating to hear about all the strategy and organization that went into creating one of the most chaotic scenes I’ve ever seen. Hearing Östlund describes how he created this iconic moment in one of the best under-the-radar movies of last year further proves how good Triangle of Sadness is. It’s visceral and chaotic, however, it achieves that energy through precision and technical innovation. 

Triangle of Sadness is now up for three Oscars, and while on the surface it’s a bit shocking a visceral satire like this would get nominated, once you think about it a bit, its technical mastery and magnificent writing make it clear why it is among 2022’s most prestigious films. 

If you haven’t seen Triangle of Sadness and this legendary -- or infamous depending on how you look at it -- scene you can rent the movie on Amazon (opens in new tab). Also, as the Academy Awards get closer, be sure to check out how to stream all the Oscar-nominated movies, and if you are looking to see another film like Östlund’s brutal satire, be sure to check out the 2023 movie schedule

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.