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Image / Living / Culture

Don’t Worry Darling… except quite a substantial amount of worries, actually


By Sarah Finnan
17th Sep 2022

IMDb

Don’t Worry Darling… except quite a substantial amount of worries, actually

The ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ press tour is chaos incarnate and I’m living for it.

The hype surrounding Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller, Don’t Worry Darling, has been brewing for quite some time now but public intrigue soared as the movie’s cast embarked on their highly publicised press tour. 

From memes of Chris Pine’s “I’m so done with this” face to rumours that Harry Styles spit in his lap (yes, really), there’s already so much to discuss… and the movie hasn’t even officially been released yet. 

But first, the backstory; let’s delve right in, shall we?

Bye bye Shia LaBeouf

Interest in the project first started back in September 2020 when Deadline reported that Harry Styles would be replacing Shia LaBeouf as the male lead. Forced to depart due to scheduling conflicts, there were some initial whispers of onset trouble but they never fully took form until recently after Wilde claimed that the actor was actually fired. 

“I say this as someone who is such an admirer of his work. His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. 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. I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job,” Wilde told Variety.

Responding to Wilde’s comments in a series of email messages, LaBeouf said that he actually “quit the film due to lack of rehearsal time”. “You and I both know the reasons for my exit,” the actor said in an email to Wilde (which he later forwarded to Variety). “I quit your film because your actors and I couldn’t find time to rehearse.”

“Firing me never took place, Olivia. And while I fully understand the attractiveness of pushing that story because of the current social landscape, the social currency that brings. It is not the truth. So I am humbly asking, as a person with an eye toward making things right, that you correct the narrative as best you can. I hope none of this negatively affects you, and that your film is successful in all the ways you want it to be,” LeBeouf concluded his email. 

LaBeouf also attached a video clip Wilde allegedly sent to him, asking him to reconsider leaving and appearing to refer to a supposed conflict with Florence Pugh. “You know, I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo,” Wilde says in the video. “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?”

Victory dance

Not long after Styles’ involvement was confirmed, Vogue quoted Wilde as saying that she and costume designer Arianne Phillips “did a little victory dance” when the singer agreed to come on board. “We knew that he has a real appreciation for fashion and style,” Wilde explained. “And this movie is incredibly stylistic. It’s very heightened and opulent, and I’m really grateful that he is so enthusiastic about that element of the process – some actors just don’t care,” she finished, further fuelling the notion that LaBeouf’s departure wasn’t necessarily amicable. 

Later that month, news broke about Wilde’s split from then-fiancé Jason Sudeikis. A source told People that they had actually parted ways earlier that year, but it ended well… or as well as it could have, given the circumstances. “They’ve transitioned into a great co-parenting routine. The children are the priority and the heart of the family’s relationship,” the source continued. 

New love 

Two months later, Wilde and Styles were photographed holding hands at a wedding in California in January 2021. The internet all but blew up and it soon emerged that the twosome had been dating for some time. Several months later and the couple’s relationship is still going strong… at least if those photos of them jaunting around Dublin are anything to go by. 

“Since the first indications that they were a couple arose, Wilde and Styles’s relationship has been subjected to the glare of widespread obsession, envy, and tabloid-fueled cattiness,” Vogue stated in their December 2021 coverstory on Wilde. “It’s obviously really tempting to correct a false narrative,” Wilde said of the 10-year age gap between her and Styles – though she never mentioned him by name. “I think what you realise is that when you’re really happy, it doesn’t matter what strangers think about you. All that matters to you is what’s real, and what you love, and who you love… I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, and it’s just wonderful to feel that.”

Feud rumours 

Unsurprisingly, neither the movie nor those involved in it have had any shortage of media coverage, but it’s not always been good; much of that fuelled by deliberately provocative tabloid hearsay. Not long ago, Page Six ran an anonymously sourced story claiming that Pugh was unhappy about Wilde and Styles’ relationship. Then came a report that Styles was being paid more than three times the amount Pugh was getting paid. 

Wilde denies that, stating, “There has been a lot out there that I largely don’t pay attention to. But the absurdity of invented clickbait and subsequent reaction regarding a nonexistent pay disparity between our lead and supporting actors really upset me. I’m a woman who has been in this business for over 20 years, and it’s something that I have fought for myself and others, especially being a director. There is absolutely no validity to those claims.”

As for the Pugh “feud” rumours, Wilde is allusive in her response. “The whole culture of celebrity gossip is interesting as a distracting tool to numb people from the greater pains of the world,” she says. “Escapism is really a very human quality, searching for something to anesthetise the painful reality of so many people’s lives. I don’t blame people for seeking escapism, but I think the tabloid media is a tool to pit women against one another and to shame them.”

Press tour 

Then, this week the movie’s press tour kicked off at the 79th Venice International Film Festival. And the real chaos began. In fact, we haven’t seen the likes since Oscar Isaac’s armpit kiss at the same event last year. 

Asked about the supposed rift between herself and Pugh, Wilde was effusive in her praise of the Midsommar actor, saying, “I can’t say enough how honoured I am to have her as our lead. She’s amazing in the film and as for all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise out there, I mean, the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute, I think it’s sufficiently well nourished.”

Eagle-eyed fans were unwilling to take that statement at face value though, honing in on everything from the festival’s seating order to Pugh’s refusal to make eye contact with Wilde during the movie’s four-minute standing ovation.

Reports claim that Pugh was supposedly reluctant to take part in any press tours, and was noticeably absent from the pre-screening press conference. Wilde attributed this to filming commitments with Dune 2. Pugh did, however, arrive in time to walk the red carpet and watch the movie… making her debut with an Aperol Spritz in hand and a very “am I bovvered?” look on her face. “Florence is a force; we are so grateful she is able to make it tonight [to the premiere] despite being in production,” Wilde later added. 

Spit gate

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Mr Styles also made some very questionable comments about the project during the press conference. “My favourite thing about the movie is that it feels like a movie. It feels like a real like, you know, go to the theatre film, movie, that you know, you kind of, the reason why you go to watch something on the big screen…” He also said that he likes acting because he feels like he has no idea what he’s doing. “It’s quite fun.” Harry, I loves ya, but… what? 

There’s also the small matter of him supposedly spitting on co-star Chris Pine. A now-viral clip circulating on Twitter seems to show Styles spitting in the actor’s lap as he moves to his seat. The whole thing is very blink and you miss it, but social media sleuths have enhanced the clip and slowed it down… and well, I’ll leave it up to you to decide what really happened but Pine’s reaction definitely suggests that something happened. 

All I can say is if the actual movie is even half as good as the Venice drama has been, we’re in for something special. I never want the Don’t Worry Darling press tour to end.

Due to hit cinemas later this month on September 23, watch the trailer for Don’t Worry Darling below in the meantime.