Don’t Worry Darling, Olivia Wilde’s directorial follow-up to 2019’s BooksmartBefore it opens in theaters, September 23, the film is causing controversy. The film, which stars Florence Pugh, also marks pop star Harry Styles’ first major starring role. Katie Silberman, screenwriter, also stars Chris Pine, KiKiLayne, Nick Kroll and Gemma Chan. Don’t Worry DarlingSince its announcement in 2019, it has been highly anticipated.
In the weeks leading up to its premier, however, Don’t Worry DarlingThe star-studded cast of the show has been a major draw for attention. Page Six published a July report that Pugh was having a fallout with Wilde. The gossip and speculation that resulted from the recent Styles and Wilde promotional interviews has fuelled online speculation. And the internet’s interest in the film’s major players—Wilde and Styles reportedly started dating after meeting on the film’s set—is at a fever pitch.
Sexism has been cited by many as the reason for the drama and rumors. Wilde has faced criticism for dating the star of her own movie—something male directors have done for decades without stoking the same level of outrage. There’s an added layer of conversation from Styles’ fans, who are unhappy with Wilde and express their dislike for her online. There’s also the obsession that Hollywood—and the world at large—has with women who might not get along, drawing attention to “feuds” that might not actually exist.
There’s also a question of whether there’s any truth to these rumors, many of which come from anonymous sources and have been spread by TikTok. Wilde and her cast will continue to be the focus of attention as the film nears release.
What does it mean? Don’t Worry DarlingWhat is it about?
The movie is a psychological thriller that takes place in a 1950s idyllic town. It follows Alice (Pugh) as she discovers that Jack (Styles), has a dark secret. This happens after one of their housewives goes missing. This film will debut at the Venice Film Festival. It will then be available to wider audiences starting Sept. 23. The film was also the subject of a bidding war between multiple studios, thanks to a strong script and the critical success of Wilde’s debut film.
Trailer teased in the trailer that the movie would be visually entertaining with mystery as the central plot. Wilde noted also that the film is centered on female pleasure. “Men don’t come in this film,” she told Variety. “Only women here!”
Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh’s differing views on the film
Pugh initially expressed her excitement about the casting. Don’t Worry Darling, calling Wilde her “idol” in 2020. Pugh didn’t post much about Wilde’s production for the next two-years, which led to gossip websites and TikTok accounts speculating that Pugh was not enjoying her work on the film.
Pugh promoted the movie trailer instead of posting it on her Instagram Story, when the trailer was made public. OppenheimerShe is in a Christopher Nolan directed movie called “The Script” that will be out in 2023. That same day, Wilde praised Pugh in an Instagram post—with no response or interaction from Pugh. On TikTok, users have been analyzing Pugh’s moves, noting it is unusual for her not to post about her upcoming projects. It is expected that celebrities with huge online followings will promote their works as part of the marketing plan. Although not every celebrity engages online, it’s relatively common for actors to post trailers, posters, and other ephemera on their Instagram and Twitter accounts. Pugh posted only one time about Don’t Worry Darling specifically—the film’s trailer, earlier in August.
There was much speculation about why they didn’t get along. Puck News reports that Pugh was unhappy that Wilde kept “disappearing” with Styles on set once the two began a romantic relationship.
Pugh is not responding to reports about a split between Wilde and her. Styles and Pugh have discussed their frustration at the excessive focus she places on sex scenes. Don’t Worry Darling‘s trailer, the same ones that Wilde has argued center female pleasure. Pugh stated August that Harper’s Bazaar: “When it’s reduced to your sex scenes, or to watch the most famous man in the world go down on someone, it’s not why we do it. It’s not why I’m in this industry,” she said. “Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that. That’s just not what I’m going to be discussing because [this movie is]You are bigger than this. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.”
August 26, TheWrap reported that Pugh has limited her attendance at promotional press events for the film, citing “three executives connected to the film, as well as an individual with knowledge of Pugh’s involvement.” According to those studio executives, Pugh’s absence has mostly to do with her filming commitments for Part 2 of Dune.
What Olivia Wilde has said—and what it has to do with Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf, who was to play Jack in the film’s 2020 version of Jack was announced. Styles was cast as Jack the September following LaBeouf’s departure due to scheduling conflicts.
A few months after his publicized departure from the film, LaBeouf’s ex-girlfriend and singer FKA Twigs filed a lawsuit against him for sexual battery. “I just didn’t want anyone else to get hurt, and that trumped any way that I felt about what people may think about me now, positively or negatively,” Twigs told British GQIt was June 20, 222. LaBeouf’s lawyers denied the allegations. But in an August 2022 podcast interview with the actor Jon Bernthal, LaBeouf said, “I hurt that woman.” The trial is set to commence on April 17, 2023.
Wilde made no mention of the changes in casting until August 2022 when she said that LaBeouf had been fired. “He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don’t personally believe that is conducive to the best performances,” she said. “Creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. My responsibility lies ultimately with the cast and production to ensure their safety. That was my job.”
Two days later, LaBeouf contradicted Wilde’s claims, telling Variety that he wasn’t fired, but that he quit because there wasn’t sufficient time to rehearse. He shared the video Wilde allegedly sent him. In it, she seems to try to get him back aboard and confirms that they had differences on set.
“I feel like I’m not ready to give up on this yet, and I, too, am heartbroken, and I want to figure this out,” Wilde says in the video, “You know, I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo, and I want to know if you’re open to giving this a shot with me, with us. If she really commits, if she really puts her mind and heart into it at this point, and if you guys can make peace — and I respect your point of view, I respect hers — but if you guys can do it, what do you think? Are you hopeful? Will you let me know?”
LaBeouf also sent Wilde an email. “You and I both know the reasons for my exit,” the email reads, “I quit your film because your actors and I couldn’t find time to rehearse.” Wilde’s alleged lack of attention to the cast was part of the reason she is said to have fought with Pugh.
Which responses have Florence Pugh or Harry Styles given?
Pugh has not directly responded to the controversy since LaBeouf’s comments became public. To promote the movie, she did however limit her involvement in public events. Styles did not comment publicly about the drama.
Interview with the Associated PressWilde spoke out about her hopes that people will watch the film despite the hype surrounding it. “If people are excited about a film, for whatever reason, what you hope is that it gets them in the door.”
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